Why Lionel Messi could be facing 12-match suspension after striking opponent in Barcelona loss


Even with Lionel Messi, you could argue that Barcelona have very little chance of winning anything this season. They are a team lacking quality and cohesion. Without their 33-year-old superstar, they almost certainly have no chance. But Messi-less lineups are something the club could be staring at in the short term. 

After Messi received his first red card for Barca on Sunday in the 3-2 loss to Athletic Bilbao in the Spanish Super Cup, the Argentine could be facing a suspension up to 12 matches due to his actions. In the match, Messi struck an opponent with a blow to the head, with VAR resulting in a red card by ref Gil Manzano. Take a look:

The Spanish football association will decide what kind of punishment Messi will face for the incident. Article 98 of the disciplinary code says that a player faces a ban of 4-12 matches for a serious offense. 

A decision should come after a thorough review of the video and the report of the ref, which stated, “Hitting an opponent with the arm using excessive force while the ball is in play.” At the very least, we can likely expect a four-match suspension for the Argentine, which puts this team in an even trickier spot. Barca are seven points back of first-place Atletico Madrid having played two games more. 

A potential 12-match ban would see him return in time for the Real Madrid game in April, but he would stand to miss around two months of action in Spain.

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