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Lionel Messi was banned for two matches on Tuesday following his first red card which he picked up while playing in the super cup final on Sunday.
The Argentine forward was shown a red card at the end of Sunday’s 3-2 extra-time defeat to Athletic Bilbao in the Spanish Super Cup final after lashing out at Asier Villalibre.
Messi had twice been sent off playing for Argentina, including at the 2019 Copa America, but never in 16 years and 753 matches with Barcelona’s first team.
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The six-time Ballon d’Or winner’s ban was announced by the Spanish Football Federation with Barca later revealing their intention to appeal the sanction on their star player.
Messi shook off a thigh problem to start in Seville and was required to play all 120 minutes as Barca attempted to take the game to penalties.
Instead, the 33-year-old lost his temper at the end of a combative contest, reacting to a late challenge from Villalibre by swiping his hands across the back of his opponent.
Messi was red-carded 15 years ago for Barca but it was with the reserves in a third division match, according to Spanish statistician Alexis Martin-Tamayo.
Recall that Lionel Messi had received marching orders during Barcelona’s 3-2 loss to Athletic Bilbao in the Spanish Super Cup final on Sunday. For the first time during his long and illustrious Barcelona career, Messi was red-carded. Going beyond the arid facts, however, there could be more to this than meets the eye. There’s a question of whether the ongoing off-the-pitch issues/uncertainties have made the great man feel frustrated.
The match went into extra-time and on 121 minutes, Messi saw red after the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) spotted him taking a swing at Athletic’s Asier Villalibre when the latter ran across his path. Referee Gil Manzano missed the incident, but VAR intervened and Messi was shown a straight red card. It was his 753rd appearance for Barcelona and for the first time Messi had been dismissed.
Messi would now miss games against third-tier Cornella away in the Copa del Rey on Thursday and Elche on Sunday in La Liga.
AFRICA TODAY NEWS, NEW YORK