will miss Argentina’s World Cup qualifier in Bolivia on Tuesday night after being handed a four-game ban by CONMEBOL and FIFA.
The Barcelona superstar was also fined 10,000 Swiss Francs (£8,111) after being reported to world football’s governing body after a foul-mouthed outburst at an assistant referee during last week’s 1-0 win over Chile.
Messi, 29, was enraged by a decision given by official Dewson Silva during the first half, and was caught on camera verbally abusing the official, reportedly declaring: “f*** off, the c*** of your mother.”
It continued as the official joined the rest of the officiating team in the centre of the field at the end of the game. Messi was again in discussion with the officials and actively avoided shaking the hand of Silva. Brazilian referee Sandro Ricci subsequently pointed Messi towards the tunnel as the five-time Ballon d’Or turned shaking his head at the assistant.
A statement from FIFA read:
“The FIFA Disciplinary Committee, pursuant to articles 77 a) and 108 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code (CDF), took the following decision regarding the case of Argentine footballer Lionel Messi after an incident that occurred during the qualifying match of The FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 played between Argentina and Chile on March 23, 2017.
“Footballer Lionel Messi is considered guilty of having violated art. 57 of the CDF when pronouncing injurious words against an assistant referee.”
They then appealed to the Argentine FA on Monday afternoon for full clarification of the facts.
Argentine Football Association vice-president Armando Perez discussed the matter on Monday evening, telling La Tercera: “If he behaved out of place, then he should be penalised like any other player.
“He should not get a different deal just because he is the best player on the planet. It seems to me that he is in a position to be investigated.
“CONMEBOL is asking for all of the information. Everything that we know must be passed on.”