Lionel Messi hits out at Manuel Ugarte for his gesture during Argentina defeat to Uruguay

'Young people have to learn to respect their elders.'

Lionel Messi hits out at Manuel Ugarte for his gesture during Argentina defeat to Uruguay
Lionel Messi was unhappy with the conduct of Uruguay's players in their win over Argentina
Lionel Messi was unhappy with the conduct of Uruguay’s players in their win over Argentina (TyC Sports)

Lionel Messi urged Uruguay’s players to ‘respect their elders’ after Manuel Ugarte’s lewd gesture to Rodrigo De Paul during Argentina’s defeat on Thursday evening.

Goals in each half from Ronald Araujo and Darwin Nunez sealed the victory for Uruguay in a fiery World Cup qualifier at La Bombonera.

Messi was involved in a confrontation during the game and during the exchange, Ugarte directed an unsavoury gesture towards De Paul after he rushed in to defend the Argentina captain.

When asked about Ugarte’s conduct, Messi said after the game: ‘I prefer not to say what I think about some gestures.

‘Young people have to learn to respect their elders. Argentina – Uruguay was always a tough classic, but with respect, they have to learn a little.’

Messi also praised Uruguay for their transformation under Marcelo Bielsa, while their win on Thursday evening puts them second in the South American World Cup qualifying table behind Argentina.

‘You can see Bielsa’s hand on the way Uruguay is playing,’ Messi said.

‘In all the national teams or clubs, including Argentina, his style was very recognisable. And he has a good generation of players.

Uruguay's Darwin Nunez celebrates scoring his side's second goal against Argentina during a qualifying soccer match for the FIFA World Cup 2026 at La Bombonera stadium
Darwin Nunez struck late on to seal Uruguay’s 2-0 win over Argentina (AP)

‘They are an intense team and it was difficult for us to play our game.

‘They have physical and fast players in the midfield. We never feel comfortable and we didn’t find a way to posses the ball for a long period of time.

‘So the game was played on a fast pace and we fall for that style, which isn’t the best for us.

‘We never felt comfortable in this match. Uruguay are a physical team, they have good teamwork. It is always like that against them.’

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