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Messi heartbroken over chaos during Argentina-Brazil qualifier — ‘Tragedy could have kicked in’


Argentina’s star player, Lionel Messi, has voiced his deep concerns about the crowd trouble that disrupted the World Cup qualifier against Brazil, stating that it “could have been a tragedy.” 

The chaos erupted at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro when police charged at away fans, leading to scuffles and disturbances before kick-off Messi, the Argentina captain, and his teammates took a proactive approach, attempting to calm the situation by engaging with the crowd before eventually retreating to the dressing room.

In Messi’s words, “It was bad because we saw how they were beating people. The police, as happened in the Libertadores final, were once again repressing the people with nightsticks. 

We went to the locker room because it was the best way to calm everything down; it could have ended in tragedy.”

The unrest originated from clashes between rival fans behind one of the goals during the national anthems. Police intervention prompted further reactions from supporters, with some tearing out seats and others seeking refuge on the pitch. 

The players, including Aston Villa’s Emiliano Martinez, made efforts to de-escalate the situation, leading to a temporary suspension of the match.

This incident follows a similar occurrence two weeks prior, involving fans of Fluminense and Boca Juniors during the Copa Libertadores final at the same venue. Brazil captain Marquinhos emphasised the players’ concern for families and spectators caught in the panic during the chaotic scenes.

Despite the disruptions, Argentina secured a 1-0 victory, adding to Brazil’s recent challenges in World Cup qualifiers.

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