Lionel Messi

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Messi leaves after being sent off.

Lionel Messi received the first red card of his career on Sunday at Barcelona after being sent off in the Spanish Super Cup final with a 3-2 win over Athletic Club.

The Barcelona captain was seen kicking the ball at Athletic’s Asier Villalibre on red following a VAR ruling and is now under threat of a ban. If the attack is deemed serious, Messi could miss the next four games for Barcelona, according to Marca.

The best option, according to Mundo Deportivo, is a dual suspension. If the Competition Commission finds that the infringement is only minor, a suspension of two matches will be imposed.

However, Messi will also have to serve his suspension during home games following a recent rule change. Real Madrid’s Fede Valverde was sent off in last season’s Super Cup final and given a one-game suspension for a foul on Alvaro Morata.

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Messi games may be missing.

If Messi is suspended and misses the next four games, he will miss Thursday’s trip to Cornell for the Copa del Rey (and the next round if Barca wins) and the La Liga games against Elche and Athletic.

So a suspension can’t come at the worst possible time. It is likely that Messi would have missed the Copa del Rey matches anyway. The tournament is not a priority and Ronald Koeman should rotate his team for cup matches.

Barca will also be the clear favourites against struggling Elche. Jorge Almiron’s team are at the bottom of the La Liga rankings and have won the Spanish top flight just three times this season.

However, the game against Athletic will be another tough one, as the two teams will face each other for the third time in January. Sunday’s Super Bowl defeat followed Barca’s 3-2 win at San Mamse in a game in which Messi scored twice. The two clubs meet on the 31st. January at Camp Nou.

Koeman says to Messi red

Coach Ronald Koeman did not want to comment on the course of the game after the defeat, but gave his opinion on Messi. The Barcelona boss said he understood why his captain had been eliminated, as Marca reported.

It’s better if I don’t talk. That would just be a repeat, and I don’t like that. I’m not going to voice my opinion. I understand what [Messi] did [in the red card]. I don’t know how many mistakes were made against him. He tries to drip and can’t. Will I forgive him? I need to see the incident.

The Dutchman also discussed the decision to launch Messi after his return from injury. The captain missed the semi-final against Real Sociedad due to foot problems, but returned to the starting eleven.

Koeman said Messi decided he was fit to play and said: After all these years, he knows when he can play and when he can’t. He decided to play and that’s it.

Barcelona will now have to wait and see what happens to Messi, but he is likely to be without his captain for the next few games.

READ NOW: Griezmann pulls out after Barcelona’s Super Cup defeat.

 

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