Atkinson wanted no cards in his last international match

Manuel Lanzini claims referee Martin Atkinson told him there would be no cards in the recent friendly Argentina – Italy because it was his last international match. The official is hanging up his whistle after Argentina’s 2-0 victory at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester. 
It was not an ill-tempered game, but it did have some crunching tackles and shirt-pulls that the referee waved away. “The referee told me that it was his last international match and so he wanted to see it out with no yellow cards”, Lanzini told Argentine paper Ole. It was the swansong for 46-year-old Atkinson, who was last year voted by the IFFHS as the second-best referee in the world after Germany’s Felix Brych.