Copa America: Messi sent off after altercation with Medel

Lionel Messi appeared to be the victim of foul play from Chile's Gary Medel but both players were shown red cards at the Copa America.

Argentina forward Lionel Messi   -  Getty Images

Lionel Messi was sent off after 37 minutes of Argentina's Copa America clash with Chile for his part in an altercation with Besiktas defender Gary Medel.

Tempers flared throughout the first half of the third place playoff and Medel retaliated following a challenge from Messi by appearing to aim a headbutt before repeatedly pushing his chest into the five-time Ballon d'Or winner's body.

The pair continued to charge each other until referee Mario Diaz de Vivar produced straight red cards, sparking protests from both teams.

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Those complaints continued after the half time whistle was blown, with Argentina leading 2-0 courtesy of goals from Sergio Aguero and Paulo Dybala.

Messi, who provided the assist for Aguero's opener, was making his 27th appearance for Argentina in the Copa America, surpassing Javier Mascherano to become the most capped Albiceleste player in the competition's history.

The 32-year-old was furious after Argentina's previous game - a 2-0 semi-final defeat to Brazil - for what he perceived to be poor refereeing decisions, branding the officiating "bull****".