Lionel Messi banned
Lionel Messi has been handed a two-match ban after being sent off for the first-ever time in his senior Barcelona career in the Spanish Supercopa final on Sunday.
Messi, 33, was shown a red card in the final minute of extra-time after swinging his arm at Athletic Bilbao’s Asier Villalibre.
Referee Jesus Gil Manzano was alerted about the incident by VAR and after watching a replay on the pitchside monitor decided to give Messi his marching orders.
The Royal Spanish Football Federation’s competition committee met on Tuesday and deemed the challenge to be worthy of a two-game suspension.
Messi will miss Thursday’s trip to third division Cornella in the Copa del Rey and Sunday’s La Liga game away at Elche. Should Barca beat Cornella, he will return for a potential round-of-16 tie in the Copa del Rey next week and will also be available for the league match at Camp Nou against Athletic, who beat Barca in Sunday’s final, on January 31.
Messi had only previously been sent off three times in his professional career and only once at the club level. His first red card came in February 2005 in a league game for Barca B against Pena Sport.