‘He Better Pray To God I Don’t Find Him’: Mexican World Champion Boxer Threatens Soccer Superstar Messi

Threat follows video showing Messi standing on Mexican flag or jersey
Alvarez: Steve Marcus/Getty Images Messi: David Ramos – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

A Mexican world champion boxer threatened Argentinian Lionel Messi after seeing a video of the soccer superstar standing atop what appeared to be either a jersey from Mexico’s soccer team or the Mexican flag.

On Sunday, Argentina defeated Mexico 2-0 in the World Cup as Messi scored the first goals. After the game, Messi appeared to stand on the jersey or flag amid a locker room celebration, sparking the ire of boxer Canelo Alvarez.

“Did you guys see Messi cleaning the floor with our jersey and flag????” Alvarez, who has won multiple world championships in four weight classes from light middleweight to light heavyweight, tweeted. “He better pray to God that I don’t find him. Just like I respect Argentina, he has to respect Mexico! I’m not talking about the country as a whole, just about the bulls**** that Messi did.”

Messi’s former Argentina teammate Sergio Agüero chided Alvarez for his comments.

“Mr. Canelo, don’t look for excuses or problems, surely you don’t know about football and what happens in a changing room,” Agüero tweeted. “The shirts are always on the floor after games have finished due to sweat and then if you look properly, he makes the movement to remove his boot and accidentally hits it.”

Messi was euphoric after the game with Mexico, which kept Argentina’s hopes alive after the shocking loss to Saudi Arabia in the opening game of Group C.

“We needed this euphoria,” he said. “The days were very long, and we were eager to have the chance to turn it around. It was a critical game. [Winning] was a weight off our shoulders, and we now have peace of mind.”

“The first half was difficult due to the situation and the need to win. We couldn’t find spaces,” he continued. “In the second half, we started playing our game and doing what we stand for. … The goal changed the game.”

In other World Cup news, U.S. Soccer briefly displayed Iran’s national flag without the emblem of the Islamic regime on its official Twitter, Instagram and Facebook accounts to show support for protests in Iran, but then pulled it down, telling CNN it always had intended to go back to the Islamic Republic flag, calling the brief display “a one-time graphic.”

Iranian state media Tasnim news agency reacted to the brief display by insisting the U.S. team be thrown out of the World Cup, tweeting, “By posting a distorted image of the flag of the Islamic Republic of #Iran on its official account, the #US football team breached the @FIFAcom charter, for which a 10-game suspension is the appropriate penalty. Team #USA should be kicked out of the #WorldCup2022.”

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