Dani Alves has criticised long-time Barcelona team-mate Lionel Messi after the Argentina star claimed that the Copa America was corrupt after his side’s defeat to Brazil.
Messi hit out at CONMEBOL and the tournament as a whole after the semi-final defeat and once again after Argentina’s third-place game with Chile, a match that saw the superstar sent off under dubious circumstances.
Messi suggested the officials had been favouring the tournament hosts, Brazil throughout the Copa America.
The Argentine was particularly critical of the efforts from the Video Assistant Referee and match official, as he used a interview after the game to criticise the decision to not award a penalty to Sergio Aguero.
He once again was critical after a red card in the third-place game, as Messi was sent off for a confrontation with Chile player Gary Medel.
Messi’s comments prompted Brazil manager Tite to step in and say that a star of his magnitude needs to show more respect.
And Alves echoed his coach’s sentiments, saying that Messi remains a dear friend, but a friend that he believes was wrong about his claims.
“A friend is not always right just because he’s a friend. You can say it in the heat of the moment, but I still won’t agree,” Alves told SporTV’s ‘Bem Amigos’ .
“Firstly, he’s disrespecting an institution such as the Selecao, in my view. Secondly, he’s being disrespectful with several professionals who put a lot of things aside so they could be there fighting for a dream.
“I’m a friend who always tells the truth when it’s due, and I think he was wrong for saying these things.”
Alves also went on to defend Brazil team-mate Neymar, who could not take part in the Copa America due to an injury suffered in a pre-tournament game against Qatar.
The 36-year-old, whose contract at Paris Saint-Germain has expired, backed his team-mate as one of football’s best in the wake of criticism after Neymar skipped out on the club’s first training session of pre-season.