Lionel Messi banned from Argentina duties after calling the Copa America 'corrupt'

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Football fans won't be seeing Lionel Messi in a Argentina shirt for quite some time.

It has been announced that the Barcelona superstar has been banned from international duties for three months as punishment for claiming the Copa America was 'corrupt.'

Conmebol, the South American Football Confederation, have also slapped him with a $50,000 fine.

"We don't have to be part of this corruption," the Argentina skipper said at the time. "They have showed us a lack of respect throughout this tournament.

"Sadly, the corruption, the referees, they don't allow people to enjoy football, they ruined it a bit."

Controversial Copa America

Messi felt that Argentina had been treated unfairly by refereeing decisions during the semi-final with Brazil and felt aggrieved about his shock sending off in the third-place play-off with Chile.

His claims were initially backed by the Argentine Football Association, only for Conmebol to return fire by suggesting that the accusations were 'unfounded' and 'represent a lack of respect.'

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Banned for three months

So, here we were are with the final decision from the South American authorities and now the time is ticking for Messi to potentially appeal the verdict within the next seven days.

However, assuming that Conmebol stand firm, Messi will officially be absent from the upcoming September and October friendlies with Chile, Mexico and Germany.

The only saving grace is that Argentina's qualifying campaign for the 2022 World Cup doesn't begin until March of next year, at which point Messi will be free from the sanctioning.

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Do you think Conmebol were right to punish Messi? Have your say in the comments section below.

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