Lionel Messi will miss Barcelona’s La Liga clash with Elche after the club’s appeal against the two-match ban handed to the Argentine following a straight red card against Athletic was rejected by the appeal committee, who upheld the decision. Messi was given marching orders by referee Jesus Gil Manzano in the final moments of Barcelona’s 2-3 defeat to Athletic Bilbao in the Spanish Super Cup final. The red was Messi’s first in his club career. Mauricio Pochettino Reacts to Neymar’s Wish of Reuniting With Lionel Messi, Says ‘We are Just Focused on the Present’.
He was shown a red for catching Athletic striker Asier Villalibre with a flailing arm in an off the ball incident. It occurred just moments after Inaki Williams had given Athletic the lead in extra-time. Barcelona had led the game 2-1 until the 89th minute before Athletic Bilbao scored in the final minute of regulation time to take the match to extra-time and scored the winner to clinch the Supercopa de Espana title – the club’s first title since 2015. Lionel Messi Will Remain at Barcelona if a Suitable Offer Is Made, Says Presidential Candidate Joan Laporta.
Messi was banned for two matches following the red card, the first of which Messi missed against Cornella. He will serve the second of his two-match ban for the trip to Elche in the club’s next game. Barcelona had appealed against the decision but unsuccessfully with the committee upholding the referee’s decision.
Despite Messi’s absence, Barcelona beat Cornella 2-0 in extra-time to progress to the next round of the Copa del Rey. He will next be in action when Barcelona visit Rayo Vallecano for the fourth round match of the Copa del Rey on January 27. He has been crucial to Ronald Koeman’s team this season but Messi’s future at Barcelona still hovers around uncertainty with only six months remaining in his contract.
Messi can leave Barcelona as a free agent at the end of the current season if he does not renew or sign a new contract with the club before June. He had attempted to force a move away from Barcelona in the summer but was blocked from making a transfer. It remains to be seen if Messi signs a new contract or leave Barcelona after 17 years as a free agent. Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain have already shown interest in making a move should Messi be available.
(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jan 22, 2021 09:25 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).