Uruguay striker Edinson Cavani has confirmed having a confrontation with Argentina’s Lionel Messi, but played down its severity.
The pair had the altercation on Monday as Argentina and Uruguay faced off in Israel, with the game ending in a 2-2 draw.
Cavani had opened the scoring for Uruguay before Sergio Aguero pulled Argentina level. Luis Suarez then thought he had won it for his country but Messi scored an injury-time penalty to earn Argentina a share of the spoils.
Cavani vs Messi: Five things to know…
- Uruguay and Argentina drew 2-2 in Israel on Monday evening.
- Edinson Cavani, Luis Suarez, Sergio Aguero and Lionel Messi were on target for their nations.
- The game has been overshadowed, however, due to a confrontation between Cavani and Messi.
- According to reports, Cavani offered to fight Messi, who replied: “Whenever you want.”
- And while Cavani confirmed the confrontation, he played down its severity.
One of the biggest rivalries in international football, things were almost certain to get heated between Argentina and Uruguay even though it was only a friendly.
And, aside from the goals, the biggest talking point of the match was a clash between Cavani and Messi just before half-time. Messi did not react well to a foul from Uruguayan midfielder Matias Vecino.
Cavani came over to defend his team-mate and, according to reports, asked Messi if he wanted to fight – to which the Argentine reportedly replied: “Whenever you want, whenever you want.”
The pair had to be separated by Suarez, Messi’s Barcelona teammate, while Diego Godin also offered a comforting word with the Argentinian.
And while Cavani confirmed the confrontation, he played down its severity, insisting it was only natural in such a game.
“It’s part of football, Clasicos are like this,” Cavani told TyC Sports.
“The truth is that it was at times a game that had friction, there were challenges and things that are part of football, especially of South American [football].
“We take positives from our performance and the fact that we were able to score two goals. We still need to improve but it’s good to end the year like this.”
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Messi takes step closer to Pele record
Monday’s clash was Messi’s second game back in international football having missed three months through suspension for accusations of corruption at the Copa America.
His return saw the Argentine score the winner against bitter rivals Brazil in Saudi Arabia before once again finding the net in the 2-2 draw with Uruguay.
Stepping up to take a penalty in injury-time after Martin Caceres handled in the area, Messi scored his 70th goal for Argentina.
It moved the Barcelona man one closer to Pele’s record for most international goals for a South American national team, with the Brazilian boasting 77.