'Absolute joke' - USMNT's Brandon Vazquez slammed for asking Lionel Messi to sign his shirt after losing to Inter Miami

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Lionel Messi Brandon Vazquez
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Cincinnati forward Brandon Vazquez has been heavily criticised for asking Lionel Messi to sign his shirt after U.S. Open Cup defeat.
  • Inter Miami beat Cincinnati to reach final
  • Messi starred with two assists
  • Vazquez asked for autograph after the defeat

WHAT HAPPENED? Since Messi moved to the United States, it has become commonplace for opposition players to exchange jerseys or greet the Argentine superstar after the final whistle. Despite being denied an opportunity to progress in the tournament by another Messi masterclass, the USMNT star could not resist asking the 2022 World Cup winner to sign his jersey which will become a prized memento.

His actions have not gone down well a section of the fans and ESPN experts Steve Nicol and Alejandro Moreno in particular.

WHAT THEY SAID: "I'm just disgusted with it all, to be honest with you," Nicol said on ESPN FC.

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"I don't have anything (to say) that is allowed on TV. I'm absolutely disgusted that anybody would lose a cup semi-final... and have the gall to think that it's okay to go get an autograph of somebody from the opposition.

"If I was the coach, I'd kick every one of them only my size 12s as they came back in the dressing room. Every single one of that embarrassed themselves and us by doing that. You can call it old school, you can call it whatever you want. But that is disgusting.

"Absolute joke - and if I'm a fan, and I see the players that I've come to see win a game, acting like fun boys after the game when they've just lost a cup semi-final.. I would prefer to say other words, but I'm not allowed to," he said.

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Nicol's colleague, Moreno, who is also a former MLS player, echoed the sentiments of the former Liverpool defender and criticised Vazquez in the same vein.

"I don't care if it's Lionel Messi, I don't care if it's Maradona, I don't care if it's Pele, I don't care," Moreno said

"He's an opponent that is keeping you from achieving your goals as an individual and as a team. And yet, and yet, where is the competitive pride? Where is the respect for your organization, for your club, for your teammate, for yourself?

"Where is the self respect and the sense of pride in knowing that you've just lost an opportunity to win a title for your club? Now, people will say, 'Well, this is after the game. So why does it matter?' It does matter... because if you have a marker in your hand, you thought about this before the game. If indeed you're willing to line up minutes after you've just lost it because you've thought about this before the game.

"And so you can't tell me that you're giving the very best of yourself that is available to you. In order to beat Inter Miami against Lionel Messi. If you're concerned about getting an autograph from the guy. You cannot beat the guy if you continue to treat him as a God, as a deity, as an untouchable. He is good enough. Trust me. He doesn't need your help," he further stated.


WHAT NEXT? Vazquez will hope to redeem himself with a standout performance against New York City FC in the MLS on Saturday. Meanwhile, Messi and Miami are due to take on New York Red Bulls at the same time in what will be the Argentine's first MLS appearance.