Messi may anticipate a 4-match ban for his first profession crimson card at Barcelona
Lionel Messi has been suspended for up to four games after receiving the first red card of his career in Barcelona in their 3-2 loss to Athletic Bilbao at the Spanish Supercopa on Sunday.
Two goals from Antoine Griezmann seemed to have Barca en route to the Ronald Koeman-era first trophy, but Asier Villalibre’s 90th-minute goal put the game into extra time.
– Ratings: Messi 5/10, Griezmann 8/10 in wild Supercopa loss
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Inaki Williams put Athletic, who beat Real Madrid in the semi-finals, into the lead in the 94th minute. Over time, and Barca 3-2, Messi was sent off for frustrated battling Villalibre.
The Royal Spanish Football Federation’s competition committee will meet this week to decide how long the Barca captain will be suspended.
The 33-year-old Messi is sure to miss two games but could be doubled depending on how the competition committee categorized the sacking. The ban is imposed across La Liga and the Copa del Rey.
Therefore, he will miss Thursday’s Copa trip to third division club Cornella and next weekend’s game against Elche in La Liga. If the ban is longer, he could also miss the next round of the Copa if Barca make progress and the match against Athletic on January 31 at the Camp Nou.
The red card on Sunday was the first Messi received when he played for Barca’s first team, a length of 753 games. However, it was the fourth of his career following a sack for Barca B in 2005 and two with Argentina, including one on his international debut that same year.
Koeman said he empathizes with Messi’s frustration after Sunday’s defeat.
“I can understand what Messi did,” said Koeman. “I don’t know how many times they fouled him and it is normal to react if they keep trying to smear you as a player trying to dribble the ball, but I need to see him properly again.”
Barca went into the final after nine unbeaten games in all competitions on Sunday and were backed by Messi who passed a late fitness test after missing out on a semi-final win over Real Sociedad.
Two Griezmann goals should extend that run to 10 games, but the Frenchman’s goals were canceled first by Oscar De Marcos and then Villalibre before Williams scored a brilliant winner.
“I’m pissed off, angry and upset,” Griezmann told reporters after the defeat that denied him his first cutlery since joining Barca from Atletico Madrid in 2019.
“I have all the bad feelings you can have after losing a final. We made mistakes in set games, we defended badly, we didn’t speak on free kicks. Those are important details.”
Koeman tried to put on a brave face despite the loss.
“We are sad and disappointed but I still think we are on the right track and we are improving,” added Koeman.
“We have to improve defensively. We have to be more committed. We can’t let the players turn, shoot and pass. But I’ll give everything. I’m not the worst coach now.” [after a defeat] Just like I’m not the best after a win, but it’s hard to take. “
It was a first trophy for Athletic since beating Barca to win the Spanish Supercopa in 2015 and it was only the third game of new coach Marcelino’s tenure.
“The credit goes to the players,” said Marcelino. “They deserve to be here for what they did last season and to win these two games [against Madrid and Barca] is unbelievable.
“I would also like to remember Aritz Aduriz and Mikel San Jose and the other players who were here last season but are no longer in the squad. And also the previous coach [Gaizka Garitano] and its employees. “