football

Lionel Messi sent off as Barcelona fall to Supercopa final defeat to Bilbao


Lionel Messi was shown a red card in the dying stages as Barcelona lost 3-2 to Athletic Bilbao in the Supercopa final in Seville.

With the scores level going into extra time, Athletic’s Inaki Williams put his side into the lead with a stunning strike in the 93rd minute.

With just minutes left on the clock VAR picked up Messi taking a swipe at Asier Villalibre off the ball as they collided.

And after consulting with the monitor the referee decided to give the six-time Ballon d’Or winner his marching orders.

It is only the third time in his career Messi has been sent off and the first time for Barcelona.



Lionel Messi clashed with Bilbao’s Asier Villalibre

The other two have come in games for Argentina, in a friendly against Hungary in 2005 and in the Copa America against Chile in 2019.

Barcelona’s defeat will likely see the pressure on manager Ronald Koeman mount.



Lionel Messi trudges off after being shown a red card
Messi trudges off after being shown a red card

There had been some hopes that cup success would help kick-start their season.

But they were denied by a spirited Athletic side, who win their first trophy since 2015.

Messi’s future has been the source of constant speculation recently, and it remains to be seen where he ends up at the end of the season, with his contract set to expire in June.



Messi took a swipe at Athletic's Asier Villalibre
Messi took a swipe at Athletic’s Asier Villalibre

Barcelona presidential candidate Joan Laporta recently insisted Messi will “do everything in his power” to stay at the club.

“Messi is now totally focused on catching Atletico Madrid in La Liga and playing the Paris Saint-Germain tie in the Champions League,” Laporta said.

“I see him more and more happy, he is enjoying it. I know that he wants to stay and I know that he will do everything in his power to stay as long as the club can offer him an offer that suits him.”





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