Messi slams referee Antonio Lahoz, says ‘cannot put a referee like him, he is not up to the level’

“I don’t want to talk about referees because then they will sanction you,” Messi said during the post-match interview with the organiser.

Spanish referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz shows a yellow card to Argentina forward Lionel Messi.

Spanish referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz shows a yellow card to Argentina forward Lionel Messi. | Photo Credit: ALBERTO PIZZOLI

“I don’t want to talk about referees because then they will sanction you,” Messi said during the post-match interview with the organiser.

The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 quarterfinal match between Argentina and Netherlands saw a flurry of yellow cards being handed out by referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz. He dished out a total of 19 yellow cards, out of which two were shown to Netherlands full-back Denzel Dumfries.

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“I don’t want to talk about referees because then they will sanction you,” Messi said during the post-match interview with the organiser.

Messi has had quite the history with Lahoz. He was officiating in the 2020 Barcelona vs Osasuna game where Messi had paid tribute to Diego Maradona after his death. Much to the displeasure of fans, Lahoz had booked Messi for removing his jersey.

In another instance, Lahoz disallowed a Messi goal for Barcelona against Atletico Madrid during the 2013-14 La Liga. The match had ended in a 1-1 draw and Atletico went on to win the title. Lahoz had later apologised to Barcelona for wrongly disallowing the goal, the team’s then assistant manager Elvio Paolorosso revealed.

“But we were scared before the game because we knew what was coming [with Mateu Lahoz]. They cannot put a referee like that on this game when he is not up to the level,” Messi said.

Similarly, Lahoz had also famously sent Pep Guardiola off for dissent during Manchester City’s UEFA Champions League quarterfinal against Liverpool in 2017/18.

“I could not care less,” Guardiola had said then.

La Albiceleste goalkeeper Emiliano Martínez added that Lahoz was “crazy, the worst referee of the tournament, he is arrogant.”

He added: “You say something to him and he talks back to you badly. I think since Spain went out, he wanted us to go out as well.”

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