Pepe drops bombshell claim on Lionel Messi influence on referees after Portugal crash out

Portugal star Pepe fired shots at Lionel Messi’s Argentina after the 2016 European champions crashed out of the 2022 FIFA World Cup with a 1-0 loss against Morocco on Saturday, December 10.

Argentina referee Facundo Tello was in charge of the quarter-final clash. Pepe wasn’t happy with the decision, especially because Messi criticized the Spanish referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz yesterday. Lahoz was in charge of La Albiceleste’s quarter-final clash against the Netherlands.

Pepe even claimed that FIFA should already hand the World Cup trophy to Lionel Scaloni’s team. He said (via Relevo):

“It’s inadmissible that an Argentine referee was in charge today after what happened yesterday, with Messi complaining. After what I saw today, they can give the title to Argentina now.”

Lahoz handed out 17 yellow cards during the high-tension quarter-final clash yesterday. The Argentine captain wasn’t happy with the officiating of the match. Lionel Messi said after the FIFA World Cup game (via The Independent):

“I don’t want to speak about referees because after they will sanction you. But people saw what happened. I think FIFA must take care of this. It cannot put a referee like that for a match of such magnitude, of such importance. The referee cannot fail to be up to the task.”

Lionel Messi hit back at Louis van Gaal after the FIFA World Cup win against the Netherlands

Lionel Messi claimed Louis van Gaal disrespected him in the build-up to the clash against the Netherlands. After scoring from the penalty spot in the second half, Messi celebrated in front of the Dutch coach.

The Argentina star told reporters after the game (via ESPN):

“I feel disrespected by Van Gaal after his pregame comments and some Dutch players spoke too much during the game.

He further criticized Louis van Gaal’s side’s playing style. The 35-year-old said:

“Van Gaal sells that he plays good football and then he puts forwards in the box and starts throwing long balls, We deserved to go through and that’s what happened.”

The game against the Netherlands is in the past and Lionel Messi will now have to shift his focus back to the semi-final clash against Croatia.

Vatreni are coming off a penalty shootout win against Brazil in the quarter-finals of the tournament.

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