Lionel Messi criticized Anvisa’s action during the derby between Brazil and Argentina, for the 2022 World Cup qualifiers. In audio caught by the broadcast of the match, the Argentine star questioned the fact that the Brazilian authorities only had intervening after the start of the match, which was stopped after five minutes and, subsequently, suspended.
Messi’s criticism also took place on the playing field, in a “meeting” with coaches Tite and Lionel Scaloni, forward Neymar and Juninho Paulista, coordinator of the Brazilian team. The conversation was caught by the broadcast of Argentine channels. See the transcript below.
“They did it the wrong way, but they warned beforehand that the players were irregular,” Juninho said.
“They didn’t let us know. We’ve been here for four days. They should have come the first day and not like this,” Messi replied.
“Didn’t they warn you?” Tite interrupted. “They didn’t tell us anything,” Messi said.
Scaloni, then, amended: “Why didn’t they pick them up at the hotel? (…) Conmebol said they could play, don’t tell me what doesn’t exist.”
Messi: “Listen, we’ve been here for three days, they’ve been waiting for the match to start to come. Why didn’t they tell you earlier?”
The game was paralyzed this afternoon after ANVISA agents entered the field at Neo Química Arena to prevent Argentine players who failed to comply with the quarantine order from playing in the confrontation. The athletes in question were: goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez, midfielders Emiliano Buendia and Giovani Lo Celso and defender Cristian Romero — all of whom play in England.
The commotion at the edge of the field started after five minutes. Officials responsible for the operation of the game tried to prevent entry to the field, but were unable. Minutes later, the Argentine national team players left the field.
In the early afternoon, Anvisa even issued a statement in which it pointed out “serious health risk, and therefore directed the local health authorities to determine the immediate quarantine of players, who are prevented from participating in any activity and must be prevented from stay in Brazilian territory”.
According to Anvisa, the four players declared not to have played in any of the four countries with restrictions in the last 14 days – among them England. The travelers arrived in Brazil by flight from Caracas/Venezuela to Guarulhos. However, unofficial news reached the Agency reporting alleged false statements made by such travelers.