Lionel Messi frozen out by Argentina team-mates

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The Independent Football

The deep freeze in the Argentinian dressing room makes the sub-zero temperatures at the 2011 Copa America seem positively tropical.

With just two points to show after meetings with Bolivia and Colombia the cracks are being to show in Sergio Batista’s squad of explosive egos.

A locker room dust-up between Lionel Messi and defender Nicolás Burdisso has the host nation’s press in a frenzy. Burdisso is believed to have confronted Messi after the attacker put in yet another below par performance for his country.

Burdisso told Messi in no uncertain terms to pull his finger out. When the Barcelona star reacted to the comment team-mates had to separate the pair.

Messi will be itching to set the record straight in Argentina’s final group match against Costa Rica. A hat-trick from the number ten is priced at 15.00 with

With Messi coming in for abuse from all sides in Argentina it took the player’s father to speak out in his defence.

Jorge Messi revealed the forlorn figure Messi has been cutting whilst wearing the Argentinian shirt extends beyond the pitch.

“I’ve never seen Leo like this, he feels beaten. Just a few weeks ago there was so much enthusiasm in the country about the Copa America. Now it’s turned into one big slap in the face for Leo.”

Jorge has a particular issue with the constant comparisons with Diego Maradona that his son has levelled at him.

“People criticise Leo for not singing the national anthem but they forget that he turned down the chance to play for Spain. Leo doesn’t have to prove his passion for his country to anyone.”

Messi’s father also had an answer for the fans that can’t understand why the player who turns up for Barcelona disappears when he pulls on the blue and white stripes.

“It’s foolish to compare Leo’s play with Barcelona with his performances for the national team. Barcelona are reaping the rewards of work that has been going on for years. Argentina is a team just looking for stability at this moment.

While Messi and Burdisso were going at it hammer and tongs after the Colombia game it’s also believed that a dust-up occurred between Javier Zanetti and Carlos Tevez.

Staff at Colón de Santa Fe’s stadium now have their work cut out to repair the home dressing room in time for Colombia’s meeting with Bolivia on Sunday.

Nicolás Burdisso getting a red card against Costa Rica can be snapped up at 20.00 with

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For more on Copa America 2011, listen to The South American Football Show.