Messi banned as Argentina stumble on road to World Cup

Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi denied directing an insult toward a match official while playing for Argentina's national team against Chile last Thursday, which led to a four-match global ban.

It was Brazil's eighth consecutive win in qualifying and, combined with Peru's 2-1 win over Uruguay in a later game, ensured they would finish the 10-nation group in the top four, guaranteeing them a berth at the Russian Federation finals.

He scored the winning goal against Chile and they ended up losing 2-0 against Bolivia, a match they were expected to win considering the stars that were on display even without Messi.

"We are alive and we want to qualify for the World Cup".

Argentina have won five of their six World Cup 2018 qualifiers with Messi but only one of seven without the superstar.

According to BBC, Messi used insulting words to the assistant referee during the Thursday's 1-0 win against Chile.

However, much of the focus was on Barcelona playmaker Messi, who was banned for four worldwide matches and fined 10,000 Swiss francs (S$14,030) for abusing an assistant referee during last Thursday's win over Chile.

The governing body confirmed the Disciplinary Committee found him guilty of "having directed insulting words at an assistant referee". Lionel Messi will also miss three of the team's remaining four games against Uruguay, Venezuela, and Brazil this year.

The decision ruled Messi out of Argentina's World Cup qualifier against Bolivia in La Paz on Tuesday. Messi is sad, as we all are.

As a result, Lionel Messi will be suspended for four official matches and sanctioned with a fine of CHF 10,000.

But after the latest defeat to Bolivia, they could drop to fifth - outside the automatic qualifying positions - if Colombia and Chile win later Tuesday.

"I did not hear any offensive language from Messi or anyone else towards myself, besides the normal players' complains (specially raising their hands) [sic] during the match".

"We feel powerless, surprised", added Miadosqui, noting that the ban came just hours ahead of the match with Bolivia.

  • Julie Sanders