Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez accused the football star of disrespect with his treatment of a Mexican jersey.
World boxing champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez has reacted angrily to Lionel Messi’s locker room celebrations following his team’s crucial World Cup win against Mexico.
Messi was on target in a 2-0 victory against Mexico in Qatar on Saturday night, keeping Argentina’s World Cup dream alive after their shock opening defeat to Saudi Arabia.
The Argentina players celebrated wildly in the locker room at Lusail Stadium, but one aspect of the scenes did not sit well with Mexican boxing legend Alvarez.
Messi was seen with a Mexican jersey on the floor in front of him, and inadvertently kicked it while taking his boot off.
“They saw Messi cleaning the floor with our jersey and flag????” Alvarez tweeted.
“Pray to God that I don’t find him,” added the multiple world champion.
“Just like I respect Argentina, he has to respect Mexico!
“I’m not talking about the country as a whole, just about the bulls**t that Messi did,” added the 32-year-old in separate tweets.
Fans were quick to point out that Messi had moved the shirt entirely unintentionally, with one writing: “Canelo, here in Argentina people support you a lot, you are letting yourself get carried away by something taken out of context. Messi is probably the most respectful athlete that exists…”
“Perhaps… hopefully so,” replied the boxer.
“Since the Mexico jersey is on the ground, it’s an insult,” Alvarez later tweeted, doubling down on his stance.
Ex-Argentina striker Sergio Aguero weighed in to defend his former teammate, tweeting: “Mr Canelo, don’t look for excuses or problems, surely you don’t know about soccer and what happens in a locker room.
“The shirts are always on the floor after the games due to sweat and if you look well, he [Messi] makes the move to remove the boot and accidentally hits it.”
Alvarez is widely recognized as among the best pound-for-pound fighters on the planet, and boasts a record of 58 wins from 62 professional bouts.
His last defeat came against Russia’s Dmitry Bivol in May when Alvarez stepped up in weight in a bid to capture the WBA light heavyweight title. That loss was the Mexican’s first since 2013, when he was outpointed by Floyd Mayweather.
Argentina and Mexico continue their World Cup campaigns in Qatar on Wednesday, with Group C finely poised ahead of the last round of matches.
Poland lead the way on four points, ahead of Argentina and Saudi Arabia on three points, and Mexico on one.
Poland take on Argentina on Wednesday, while Mexico face the Saudis in a game they must win to stand any chance of reaching the knockout stages.