Lionel Messi was involved in an angry post-match exchange with members of the Bolivian coaching staff after Argentina picked up a rare victory at high altitude in their World Cup qualifier in La Paz.
Argentina rallied from behind to earn a 2-1 win, which was their first in Bolivia since 2005.
Their joy was evident as they celebrated at the final whistle, but tensions also spilled over as Messi was seen trading comments with rival captain Marcelo Martins and Bolivia’s fitness coach Lucas Nava, who is an Argentine.
According to Argentine outlets who captured the angry exchange between Messi and Nava, the Barcelona star fumed “what’s your problem, baldy?” while also throwing out an insult which can be translated as “motherf*cker” or “son of a b*tch”.
The star number 10 was also heard accusing Nava of “screaming for the whole game.”
LA LECTURA DE LABIOS DEL CRUCE: “LA C… DE TU MADRE. ¿QUÉ PASA, PELADO?”
— TyC Sports (@TyCSports) October 14, 2020
Lionel Messi to Bolivia’s Marcelo Moreno after the game “Motherf***er, what’s your problem?”. https://t.co/iDF15CgFSh
— Sivan John (@SivanJohn_) October 14, 2020
The tensions were eventually calmed as Argentina maintained their 100 percent start to World Cup qualifying, having edged past Ecuador on Friday thanks to a Messi penalty.
In La Paz, they had found themselves 1-0 down after 24 minutes when opposition skipper Martins headed home from a cross, but levelled things up thanks to a fortuitous finish from Lautaro Martinez – who scored when defender Jose Maria Carrasco blasted a clearance directly into him on the stroke of half-time.
The goal was remarkable in that Martinez became the first player other than Messi to score for Argentina in World Cup qualifiers – excluding own goals – since November 2016.
Lautaro Martinez is the first Argentina player besides Lionel Messi to score in a World Cup qualifier since November 2016.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) October 13, 2020
The turnaround was complete when Joaquin Correa grabbed the winner for Lionel Scaloni’s men with an impressive left-footed strike on 79 minutes.
La Paz is seen as a particularly arduous place to play given the altitude, and was the scene of an infamous 6-1 hammering for Messi and Co back in 2009.
Scaloni’s team are now unbeaten in nine games, and next face Paraguay and Peru in November as the notoriously grueling South American qualifying campaign continues.