UFC fighter Santiago Ponzinibbio has jumped to the defence of Lionel Messi amid his row with boxing superstar Canelo Alvarez.
Canelo accused Messi of disrespecting the Mexico shirt and flag following their crushing 2-0 defeat to Argentina at the World Cup.
Messi opened the scoring, then turned provider as he set up Enzo Fernandez as La Albiceleste secured a big win in Group C.
There were huge celebrations in Argentina's dressing room, with Canelo threatening Messi after footage emerged of the Paris Saint-Germain forward appearing to kick a Mexican flag.
He hit out at Messi, tweeting: "Saw Messi cleaning the floor with our jersey and flag. He should ask God that I don't find him.
"Just like I respect Argentina, he has to respect Mexico! I'm not talking about the country as a whole, just about the bulls**t that Messi did."
Manchester City legend Sergio Aguero defended his former international colleague and got involved in a nasty exchange with the undisputed super-middleweight world champion.
Argentine UFC fighter Ponzinibbio is the latest person to back up the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner, saying if 'you mess with Messi, you mess with entire Argentina'.
The welterweight slugger also insists Messi didn't disrespect the Mexican flag and claims he's ready to fight to defend his countryman's honour.
He told MMA Fighting: "I was p**sed! No point threatening Messi. Everybody knows Messi’s career. If [Alvarez] doesn’t know he shouldn’t say a thing. It’s normal for players to throw jerseys on the ground, they are all sweaty, but he didn’t do anything disrespectful.
"Everybody that knows Messi knows he’s an impeccable athlete and a very respectful person.
"[Messi] had an excellent match. I was upset. Brother, if you want to fight, I’m ready, but leave Messi be. You mess with Messi, you mess with the entire Argentina. Don’t bother the kid."
Featured Image Credit: Alamy/via Twitter
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