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Lionel Messi ban: FC Barcelona star’s red card in Spanish Super Cup final could result in long suspension

Tom Doyle
·1-min read
 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Lionel Messi and Barcelona are facing a nervous wait to discover whether the Argentina legend will be hit with a long suspension for his red card in the Spanish Super Cup final.

Messi saw red for violent conduct in Barcelona’s 3-2 defeat to Athletic Bilbao on Sunday, with the Barca forward sent off in the dying seconds of a loss which puts more pressure on coach Ronald Koeman.

After passing the ball out to the left flank, Messi swung his right arm toward the head of Athletic forward Asier Villalibre as they ran forward toward the box. Villalibre immediately fell to the ground and Messi was given his first red card in 753 appearances for Barcelona.

Referee Gil Manzano said in his match report that Messi hit his opponent with "excessive force" while the ball was not near him.

The Spanish football federation's competitions committee will decide on the charges against Messi, and the player's eventual suspension could range from one to three matches or from four to 12 matches, depending on how severe the federation considers the incident.

If found guilty, Messi will be suspended for matches in the Spanish league or the Copa del Rey. Barcelona is in the round of 32 of the Copa del Rey and trails Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid in the league.

With Messi’s contract up at the end of the season and the 33-year-old trying and failing to leave the club last summer, a lengthy ban would eat into the few remaining games the forward has left at Camp Nou.

Additional reporting by AP.

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