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The verdict for Lionel Messi’s action of shoving Athletic Bilbao player, Asier Villalibre has been set at a 2 match ban. Lionel Messi was sent off in the 121st minute of the match. Villalibre tried to get in the way of a Lionel Messi run into the box and this infuriated the Argentine star, making him slap Villalibre from behind.
Barcelona lost the match 3-2 despite taking the lead twice during the match. Antoine Griezmann scored two goals and had a good match overall but it was not enough to see the Catalans win against Athletic Bilbao.
Lionel Messi’s red card was the first-ever in his career while playing for Barcelona. With the 2 match suspension, Lionel Messi would miss Barcelona’s Copa Del Rey match against Cornella on Thursday, a side that defeated Atletico Madrid in the same competition. Messi would also miss Barcelona’s league match against Elche on Sunday with his return date set at January 31st when Barcelona face Athletic Bilbao once again but this time in a La Liga match.
Ronald Koeman defended Messi’s action and stated that he understood what he did.
“I can understand what Messi did. I don’t know how many times they fouled him, and it’s normal to react when they keep trying to foul you as a player who is looking to dribble with the ball, but I need to see it again properly,” Koeman said.