Lionel Messi-led Argentina's undefeated streak came to an end on Friday after they went down 2-0 against Uruguay in the fifth round of South American qualifiers for the 2026 FIFA World Cup. Ronald Araujo (41) and Darwin Nunez (87) beat World Cup hero Emiliano Martinez to hand Uruguay a memorable win that lifted them to second position in the table (10 points). Despite the defeat, Argentina remain in the pole position and is well on course to qualify for the coveted tournament with 12 points.
The match witnessed a brawl breaking out between the two teams and Argentina's talismanic captain was among the players involved. The video of Lionel Messi grabbing Uruguay's Mathias Olivera by the neck has gone viral on the internet. Messi first planted his right elbow into the defender's chest before going for his neck, the viral video showed.
Another Argentine in the mix of things was midfielder Rodrigo De Paul -- often called Messi's bodyguard on social media circles. Rodrigo De Paul, who often tails Messi and shows up to protect him from pitch invaders and fans, was seen sarcastically smiling at the Uruguayan players after things heated up. Interestingly, in a role switch, Messi interfered and guarded De Paul from the angry Uruguayans.
According to reports, it was a standoff between De Paul and Uruguayan Manuel Ugarte that snowballed into a clash between the two sides. Ugarte was observed making an obscene gesture at the Atletico Madrid star, media reports said.
WATCH THE VIRAL VIDEO HERE:
After the game, Messi reportedly complained about the "lack of respect" by the youngbloods in the Uruguayan side.
🇦🇷 Leo Messi on tension with Uruguay players: “I prefer not to say what I think about some gestures. But these young people have to learn to respect from their elders”.— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) November 17, 2023
“This game was always intense and hard but always with a lot of respect. They have to learn a little bit”. pic.twitter.com/RQEjhFzhJp
“This game was always intense and hard but always with a lot of respect. They have to learn a little bit. I prefer not to say what I think about some gestures. But these young people have to learn to respect from their elders," noted football journalist Fabrizio Romano tweeted the eight-time Ballon d'Or winner as saying.