Lionel Messi leads Argentina boycott of press after Lavezzi accusations
Lionel Messi led the Argentina national team into the postmatch news conference after a decisive 3-0 win against Colombia and declared that the team will no longer speak to the media after accusations were made regarding teammate Ezequiel Lavezzi.
Lavezzi, 31, did not make the squad in their 3-0 win over Colombia, and reporter Gabriel Anello suggested on Twitter that he may have been dropped because he was found to be smoking cannabis at the team's training camp ahead of the match.
"Lavezzi is left off the substitutes' bench tomorrow because of the joint that was smoked last night in the camp? I'm asking... just asking." Anello said on Twitter.
Following the accusations, the Hebei China Fortune striker has vowed to take legal action against the reporter for his false claims that have hurt his family and jeopardized his job.
It was down to captain Messi, who led all 23 players into the news conference where he spoke on behalf of the team's decision to put an end to the displeasure that has surrounded the Argentina team following their loss to Brazil and their treatment at the hands of the media.
"We're here to let you know that we will no longer be communicating with the press," Messi said.
"The accusations that were made towards Lavezzi were huge. We regret that it has to be this way but we have no other choice. We know that many of you don't play that game.
"We were accused a lot. No respect was being shown and we never said anything. But this accusation against Lavezzi was it. If we don't stop it today, we'll never stop it. We know that you will continue to criticize us, that's fine. However, some got into our personal lives.
"We wanted to say this in front of everyone and not release a statement. We didn't want to hide from anyone. These past two weeks were filled with personal aggression, not football criticism. You can criticize us for winning or losing, but when you get personal we will draw the line."
Follow @ESPNFC on Twitter to keep up with the latest football updates.