Lionel Messi: 10 times Barcelona star has lost his head after first red card for the club


Lionel Messi has been sent off in a Barcelona shirt for the first time in his career.

Considering he’s played more than 750 times for the club, that’s a pretty decent record.

Messi swung a right hook at Athletic Bilbao’s Asier Villalibre as they lost in the Spanish Super Cup final and, after a VAR check, was dismissed by the referee.

There can be no excuses for the six-time Ballon d’Or winner, who could now be banned for a lengthy period.

But while it’s the first red of his Barca career, it’s not the first time we’ve seen Messi lose his cool on a football pitch. He’s previously been sent off for Argentina twice – and can perhaps consider himself fortunate that he’s picked up just three red cards in his career to date.

It can’t be easy being the best player in the world and having players kick you for 90 minutes.


And Sunday night certainly wasn’t a one-off in terms of Messi’s anger getting the best of him.

As a result, we’ve decided to look back at 10 occasions where Messi has allowed his fighting to do the talking, rather than his ability.

Asier Villalibre

In the last minute of extra-time, Messi lashed out at Villalibre after the midfielder attempted to block his run. It wasn’t spotted by the referee but VAR didn’t miss it and Messi was sent off for Barca for the first ever time.

Joao Felix

What is it with Messi and the Spanish Super Cup? Last year, tempers flared between him and youngster Joao Felix during the semi-final between Atletico Madrid and Barcelona.

Despite the 12 year age difference, the two squared up and had to be separated during Barca’s loss.

Sergio Ramos

The captains of Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively were always going to clash at some point during their career. Their biggest one came on March 2, 2019, as they faced off during the first half of Barcelona’s 1-0 win over Real Madrid at the Bernabeu.

Ramos caught Messi in the face with his arm and Messi showed off his bloody mouth.

Ramos denied that it was an intentional elbow, telling Movistar (per Goal): “I didn’t mean to catch Messi, but he took it badly.”


Edinson Cavani

Messi has more regularly lost his cool wearing an Argentina shirt and he did so back in November 2019 in a match against Uruguay.

Messi and Cavani nearly came to blows, with Cavani even offering Messi out for a fight.

Messi reportedly replied, “whenever you want” to the challenge.

Gary Medel

Messi received the second red card of his career after clashing with Chile’s Gary Medel in the Copa America third-place playoff in July 2019.

Medel was also given his marching orders but in all fairness, the incident wasn’t really worthy of a sending off for either player.

But Messi showed he’s not to be messed with.

James Milner

Milner got revenge on Messi for THAT embarrassing nutmeg in 2015 during Liverpool’s Champions League contest against Barcelona at the Camp Nou in 2019

Milner clattered Messi on the touchline and the Barcelona star wasn’t happy, as Milner revealed in an interview with the Daily Mail.

“He was giving me plenty in Spanish going down the tunnel at half-time as well,” Milner said.

“He was calling me ‘burro’. It translates as donkey but I think it’s also used in Spanish football as a general term for someone who goes around kicking people.

“I asked him if he was all right, but he wasn’t having it. I don’t think he realised I understood his Spanish.

“He said: ‘That foul you did, that’s because I nutmegged you’”.

Darijo Srna

Messi was fortunate to escape without a red card when pushed and then shoved his head into Shakhtar Donetsk’s Darijo Srna in the 2009 UEFA Super Cup.

Messi reacted to missing a chance but pushing the defender in the back.

The Croatian took exception to this and squared up to Messi, who reacted by throwing his head towards Srna’s and skimming his forehead. Naughty.

Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa

Barcelona’s game against AS Roma in August 2015 was supposed to be a friendly but it was marred by a nasty altercation between Messi and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa.

Yanga-Mbiwa lost his temper with Messi and leaned forward to intimidate him. Messi flipped as he pushed him head into the former Newcastle man before grabbing him by the throat.


Messi didn’t appear to do much wrong to warrant Malaga’s Weligton to grab him around the throat in a 0-0 draw in 2014.

But the defender later claimed that he had done so after Messi called him a “son of a b****”.

“A minute before, Messi tried to play a one-two, I tried to block him with my arm,” Weligton told Cadena SER.

“He thought I caught him in the face, but it was by accident. You can see from the images. He got angry and came at me, calling me a ‘son of a bitch.’ That was when I caught him by the throat.”

Ronald Raldes

It’s been ten years since Messi’s first real clash on a football pitch.

In Argentina’s Copa America group-stage opener against Uruguay, he reacted to being blocked from the ball by giving Raldes a push.

He then went head-to-head with the centre-back and uttered some words, covering his mouth as he did.

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