Messi Facing Barcelona Ban After Super Cup Red Card

Lionel Messi

Getty Messi walks off after being sent off

Lionel Messi received the first red card of his Barcelona career on Sunday after being given his marching orders in the Catalan giants’ 3-2 defeat to Athletic Club in the final of the Spanish Super Cup.

The Barcelona captain saw red following a VAR check after lashing out at Athletic’s Asier Villalibre off the ball and will now face a ban. If the offense is deemed “serious” then it’s likely Messi will miss Barcelona’s next four matches, according to Marca.

The best-case scenario seems to be a two-match ban, according to Mundo Deportivo. If the competition committee deems his actions to be only a “minor” offense then a two-game suspension will be handed out.

Yet Messi will have to serve the suspension in domestic matches following a recent rule change. Real Madrid’s Fede Valverde was sent off in last season’s Super Cup final and received a one-match ban for a foul on Alvaro Morata.

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The Games Messi Could Miss

If Messi is hit with a ban and sits out the next four games he will miss Thursday’s Copa del Rey trip to Cornella (and the next round if Barca win) as well as La Liga games against Elche and Athletic.

The suspension may therefore not come at the worst time. It’s likely Messi would have sat out the Copa del Rey matches in any case. The tournament is not a top priority and Ronald Koeman is expected to rotate his squad for the cup games.

Barca will also be big favorites to win against struggling Elche. Jorge Almirón’s side are in the bottom three in La Liga and have managed just three wins all season in the Spanish top flight.

However, the game against Athletic will provide another stiff test as the two teams meet each other for the third time in January. Sunday’s Super Cup defeat followed a 3-2 win for Barca at San Mames in a game in which Messi scored twice. The two clubs meet yet again on January 31 at the Camp Nou.

Koeman Talks Messi Red

Coach Ronald Koeman did not want to talk about the match officials after the defeat but did offer his opinion on Messi. The Barcelona boss said he understood why his captain had lashed out, as reported by Marca.

It’s better if I don’t talk. It’d just be repeating things and I don’t like doing that. I’m not going to give my opinion. I understand what [Messi] did [at the red card]. I don’t know how many fouls they committed against him. He tries to dribble and can’t. Do I forgive him? I need to see the incident.

The Dutchman also discussed the decision to start Messi on his return from injury. The captain missed the semi-final win over Real Sociedad due to a leg problem but was back in the starting XI.

Koeman said Messi had decided he was fit to play and explained, “After so many years, he knows when he can play and when he can’t. He decided to play and that’s it.”

Barcelona must now wait to see what happens next with Messi but do look set to be without their captain for the next couple of games at least.

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