Andres Guardado defends Lionel Messi amid Canelo Alvarez controversy

Lizzy Becherano
Andres Guardado defends Lionel Messi.
Andres Guardado defends Lionel Messi. / Claudio Villa/GettyImages

Mexican national team captain Andres Guardado has come to Lionel Messi’s defense, after four-weight boxing world champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvaraz made a bizarre threat to the player following Argentina’s World Cup win over El Tri.

The Albiceleste triumphed 2-0 in the Group C clash to avoid elimination, leaving Mexico at risk of remaining in the group stage of the international tournament. But following the game, footage emerged from an overjoyed Argentina dressing room which showed Messi accidentally kicking and standing on a Mexico shirt on the floor.

"Did you see Messi cleaning the changing room with our jersey and flag????" Mexican Canelo wrote on Twitter to his 2.2m followers. "He had better ask God that I don't find him!! Just as I respect Argentina, you have to respect Mexico!!"

Guardado addressed the situation, attempting to calm remaining outcries. 

“I know the person Leo is. Perhaps Canelo doesn't understand what happens in a locker room. It seems silly to me. Leo has had many details, not only with me. What has been generated is to sell something or generate controversy,” he said to TyC Sports

The Betis midfielder went on to reveal the shirt on the floor was his, after exchanging with Lionel Messi after the match. 

"The shirt on the floor was mine and I kept his and, I put it on the floor because it is how we get ordered to put the shirts.”

The Mexican then quickly shifted focus to the upcoming clash against Saudi Arabia, emphasizing the need for a victory. 

El Tri currently sits in last place of the Group C standings, with just one point from the 0-0 draw against Poland. In order to qualify for the Round of 16, Mexico must defeat Saudi Arabia and hope for a desirable result in the match between Argentina and Poland. 

Should Poland win, Mexico would go through with any victory over Saudi Arabia. If Argentina triumph, goal differential would come into play, forcing Mexico to score at least three goals on Wednesday. 

"The topic of goals is something that obviously worries us," captain Guardado concluded.  "You need goals to win, but what worries us more is how we can achieve it. That's true, that's what we are missing. Creating goalscoring opportunities.”