GOAL - Sam France
Paris Saint-Germain forward Edinson Cavani has confirmed there was a heated exchange with Lionel Messi during Uruguay’s 2-2 friendly draw with Argentina on Monday amid claims he offered to fight his opponent.
With Uruguay leading at the time thanks to a Cavani goal, Messi reacted angrily to a foul from combative midfielder Matias Vecino.
After a confrontation, Ole claims that Cavani asked Messi: "Do you want to fight?" to which the Barcelona star reportedly replied: "Whenever you want, whenever you want."
The pair were eventually separated by Uruguay’s Luis Suarez, a team-mate of Messi at Barcelona, while defender Diego Godin also offered a conciliatory arm around the shoulder.
When asked about the flashpoint incident after the game, Cavani confirmed that there was a confrontation between the pair but he downplayed the severity of it.
"Yes, that's football," he told reporters. "That's what the Clasico matches [between Argentina and Uruguay] are like. That's football."
Argentina went on to equalise through a Sergio Aguero header, but were pegged back minutes later by Suarez’s free-kick.
It was Messi who had the last laugh, however, converting a stoppage-time penalty to ensure the spoils were shared.
Messi’s late equaliser extended Argentina’s unbeaten run against Uruguay to four games, with Oscar Tabarez's side's last win in the fixture coming in World Cup qualifying back in 2013.
Indeed, Cavani’s 49th-minute winner in that fixture, a 3-2 victory for Uruguay, was the last goal the South American nation had scored against Argentina until Monday’s game in Tel Aviv.
The draw was also notable for involving a number of players facing uncertain futures at club level, including strike duo Cavani and Suarez.
Cavani’s contract at PSG is running out, and he is widely expected to leave the club in the near future. While he has been linked with a move to MLS with David Beckham’s Inter Miami thought to be interested in his situation, the forward's agent has claimed he has talked to European clubs about his availability.
Suarez, too, sees his future in doubt with the 32-year-old reportedly set to be replaced at Barcelona.
As the forward’s goalscoring powers begin to wane, Barca are thought to want a younger striker as Ernesto Valverde looks to rebuild an ageing squad.
Inter’s Lautaro Martinez, who came on as a substitute for Argentina, is the man whose name has been most strongly linked with a move.