Revealed: How Uruguay kept Lionel Messi under control after play ‘without fear’ warning from Marcelo Bielsa during shock World Cup qualifying win over Argentina


Sebastian Caceres has revealed the plan Uruguay followed to stop Lionel Messi during their World Cup qualifier against Argentina.

The Club America star was handed the responsibility of keeping a check on Messi, alongside Manuel Ugarte, during Uruguay’s World Cup qualifying game against Argentina. Uruguay boss Marcelo Bielsa told the pair not to be intimidated by the Inter Miami superstar as La Celeste clinched a shock 2-0 win over the reigning world champions earlier this month.

Speaking to reporters, the 24-year-old said: “He told us not to be afraid to follow him, that whoever was closest would make him uncomfortable. In the first half, Manu Ugarte did it but when he got yellow we changed and in the second half it was my turn to mark him.

If he went too far from my zone I let him, but the priority was to follow him without fear. The idea is that there would be no free player left and if Messi moved too far from the area that I had to defend I would leave him and another teammate would take him.

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“The heated clash between the South American neighbours saw tempers flaring on both ends. Ugarte got embroiled in a controversy that saw him make an obscene gesture towards Rodrigo De Paul during the match, indicating that the midfielder was Messi’s “bottle feeder”.


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