For the first time in his Barcelona career, Lionel Messi was shown a red card for his clash with Athletic Bilbao’s Asier Villalibre.
In the last minute of extra-time during the Super Cup final, Messi lashed out at Villalibre and caught him.
After a VAR review, Messi was sent off as Bilbao triumphed 3-2.
Referee Jesus Gil Manzano can now tell his grandkids that he was the first official to send Messi off during a Barcelona match. He may be the only one.
There’s absolutely no doubt Messi shouldn’t have reacted to Villalibre attempted to block off his run.
He was always running the risk of being penalised by VAR by raising his hands.
But was a red card deserved?
At first viewing, it seems there can be very little argument.
However, slow-motion footage has now emerged of the incident and it shows there is actually very little contact.
Yes, Messi does catch Villalibre on the neck with a forceful shove but it doesn’t look enough to send him tumbling to the floor in agony.
Take a look:
After seeing the slow-motion clip, many fans felt that it shouldn’t have been a red card after all.
One fan wrote: “Whoa, maybe just trying to get him out of his way…”
Another added: “It is just that he stops so that he passes in front of him and accompanies him so that he can continue running... And that is not a fault and in any case of the Athletic player…the ball was no longer there…”
A third wrote: “I think that in principle it is obstruction from the rival, who then feels Messi's hands on his back and faints. Because of the speed of the play and Messi's gesture, it seems more serious than it is.”
After the match his manager, Ronald Koeman, had sympathy for Messi’s reaction.
"I can understand what Messi did," the Dutchman confessed after the match per Daily Mail.
"I don't know how many times they fouled him, and it's normal to react when they keep trying to foul you as a player who is looking to dribble with the ball, but I need to see it again properly."News Now - Sport News