Lionel Messi has urged FIFA to rethink their referee selection as he admitted his frustration towards Antonio Mateu Lahoz’s performance in Friday’s World Cup semi-final.
The official dished out a cool 18 yellow cards throughout the ill-tempered affair, which Argentina eventually won on penalties after throwing away a two-goal lead to a late double from Wout Weghorst.
Messi, who set up Argentina’s opener before slotting home a penalty inside 90 minutes, was ecstatic with the victory but could not hide his disappointment towards Lahoz’s performance after the game.
“I was very upset,” he said. “The game was not supposed to go [to penalties].
“I don’t want to talk about the referee because they sanction you, but people watched what happened. We were afraid before the match because we knew how he was.
“FIFA needs to rethink the referees they use for games like this. You can’t use a referee like him for these matches.”
Lahoz is one of the top officials in La Liga and has plenty of experience with Messi from his time with Barcelona, even booking the Argentine during his famous tribute to the late Diego Maradona in November 2020 as he removed his shirt.
The referee also landed himself in hot water with Barcelona fans in the 2013/14 season when he ruled out a Messi goal in a 1-1 draw with Atletico Madrid that would help Los Rojiblancos win the title. Lahoz later apologised for his error, reports suggest.
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