Lionel Messi has been handed a two-game ban from the Spanish Football Federation’s Competition Committee for his red card in last Sunday’s Supercopa de Espana final.
The Argentine will therefore be unavailable for Barcelona’s next two fixtures against Cornella in the Copa del Rey and Elche in LaLiga Santander.
Messi, who swiped at Athletic Club striker Asier Villalibre in the final minute of extra time, has not been given a longer ban due to Jesus Gil Manzano’s match report not mentioning that it had been a sign of aggression.
“In the 120th minute, player (10) Messi Cuccittini, Lionel Andres was sent off for the following reason: Hitting an opponent with his arm using excessive force while the ball was in play but not within playing distance”, the referee wrote in the minutes.
This was Messi’s first sending off for Barcelona in 754 games. Should the Blaugrana advance past Cornella in the Copa, he will return in time for the last-16 tie. Should they lose, however, Messi would curiously return in time to face Athletic at the Camp Nou in LaLiga Santander.
Barcelona’s last two matches without Messi both ended in a draw: against Eibar in the league and against Real Sociedad in the Supercopa semi-finals.