Lionel Messi was given his marching orders for the first time as a Barcelona player in Sunday’s Spanish Super Cup defeat to Athletic Bilbao.
With Barca trailing 3-2 to Bilbao in extra time, Messi was shown a red card, following a VAR review, for appearing to hit Asier Villalibre on the head in an off the ball incident.
Messi lashed out at Villalibre to see red for the third time in his career
Messi was given his marching orders with just seconds left to playGetty Images – Getty
Prior to the sending off, Messi had only received two red cards in his professional career while playing for Argentina.
It was another frustrating night for the Barcelona captain as Bilbao came from behind twice, which included a 90th-minute equaliser to take the game to extra time, to lift the Spanish Super Cup.
Messi ended up staying at Barcelona after declaring his intention to leave last summer, but he is out of contract this year and seems certain to leave Spain.
The Spanish Super Cup loss piles even more pressure on Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman.
Messi seems certain to leave Barcelona this summerAFP or licensors
Antoine Griezmann opened the scoring for Barcelona in the 40th minute, before having his strike cancelled out just two minutes later by Oscar de Marcos.
Griezmann thought he had won it for his side with a 77th-minute goal, before Villalibre levelled in stoppage time.
Bilbao took the lead three minutes into extra-time with a stunning goal to beat Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
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And it got worse for Barcelona as Messi received a red card for his moment of madness in the 121st minute.
Koeman, who missed the chance to win his first trophy with Barcelona as a manager, could be fearing the sack after his latest setback.
Barcelona also trail LaLiga leaders Atletico Madrid by seven points as Diego Simeone’s men have two games in hand on their rivals.
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