Venezuelan defender almost ended Lionel Messi’s career in the 2022 World Cup qualifying match

Adrian Martinez violently fouls Messi
Adrian Martinez violently fouls Messi

A scary thing almost happened in the 2022 World Cup qualifying match: it is rare to see a ‘tackle’ like the one that hit Lionel Messi right in the leg on the field. 

In the course of the match, one of the best players in the world found himself on the pitch in pain, surrounded by concerned teammates and medical staff. 

It seems only Messi’s unique coordination saved the captain after Adriano Martinez slammed into him with a straight leg. The defender spent less than seven minutes on the pitch, replacing the injured Velasquez – the referee showed Martinez a straight red card.

This is what it looked like in the dynamics:

The incident occurred in a qualifying match for the Mundial in Qatar. The game between Argentina and Venezuela was held in Caracas and ended with Messi’s team winning (3-1). 

  • Argentine sports shows lamented Martinez’s challenge on Messi and wondered if it was the most horrific tackle ever made on the 34-year-old.