Mexico boxer Saul Cancelo has apologized to Lionel Messi after the boiling row between the Mexicans and the Argentines following Argentina’s World Cup win over Mexico.
Argentina defeated Mexico in their second World Cup group encounter. The aftermath of the win has been a subject of controversies, especially between Mexicans and Argentines, after footage of the post-match celebrations by Argentina surfaced online.
The Argentines were spotted in a wild dressing room celebration with Lionel Messi stepping on Mexico team shirt during the celebrations.
The footage attracted a backlash from Mexican fans, who slammed Lionel Messi for disrespecting the Mexicans for the offensive celebrations.
Saul Cancelo, a four-weight world champion boxer, was among those who launched an attack on the PSG star over social media following footage of the celebrations after a 2-0 win over El Tri.
While Saul Cancelo had hit out at Messi for the offensive football, several players and fans defended Lionel Messi, including friends and former team-mates Cesc Fabregas and Sergio Aguero and Mexican internationals Miguel Layun and Andres Guadrado.
The boxer later apologized to the seven times Ballon d’Or winner, saying he was swayed by emotions as he got ‘carried away’ due to his patriotic feeling and love for his country.
Saul Cancelo’s statement read;
‘These last few days I
got carried away by the passion and love I felt for my country and made comments that were out of place, for which I want to apologize to Messi and the people of Argentina.
He added he has learned from his mistakes and wised both teams well in their World Cup campaign.
‘Every day, we learn something new, and this time it was my turn.
‘I wish both teams much success in their matches today, and here we will continue to support Mexico until the end.’
How the faceoff started
Saul Cancelo started the row when he threatened Lionel Messi after the footage of the wild celebrations emerged.
Lionel Messi was spotted standing on Mexico’s shirt and kicking it while trying to take his seat.
Cancelo claimed the Argentina star had disrespected Mexico, and he issued an ominous threat, saying: ‘He better pray to God that I don’t find him.’
Lionel Messi did not reply the Mexican boxer and has remained mute after the threat. However, Lionel Messi’s former teammate Sergio Aquero was quick to wade into the row.
The former Manchester City forward said, ‘Mr. Canelo, don’t look for excuses or problems, surely you don’t know about football and what happens in a locker room.’
Aguero’s meddling in the feud seemed to have angered Saul Cancelo, who fired back on the former Premier League star, saying, ‘You too, b? You used to write me, “oh, oh, Canelo,” and now you’re crying. Don’t be a hypocrite.”
Former Mexico international and the country’s all-time highest goal scorer Javier Hernandez took to the defense of Lionel Messi instead of supporting his countryman.
Meanwhile, Cancelo and Aguero were still at loggerheads, with Aguero saying the boxer had earned the hatred of all Argentina people.
Saul Cancelo is said to have sent a long audio message on Whatsapp to Sergio Aguero to reply to his latest remarks following the row.
However, in what could be seen as a U-turn in his faceoff with Messi, who had been silent all the way, Saul Cancelo took to his social media handle to apologize to Lionel Messi. At the time of publishing this report, Messi and Aguero were yet to respond to his apology.
Santos Saúl “Canelo”
Born on 18 July 1990, Saul Cancelo is a Mexican professional boxer. He has won multiple world championships in four weight classes from light middleweight to light heavyweight, including unified titles in three of those weight classes and lineal titles in two.
He is the first and only boxer in history to become undisputed champion at super middleweight, having held the WBA (Super), WBC and Ring magazine titles since 2020, and the IBF and WBO titles since 2021.