Lionel Messi's harsh red card 40 seconds into Argentina debut in 2005 remembered

Lionel Messi finally enjoyed success with Argentina at last year’s Copa America.

The legendary forward was brilliant from start-to-finish as Argentina won the tournament, ending his wait to win a trophy with his nation.

Argentina are currently on a 30-game unbeaten streak and are one of the favourites for the 2022 World Cup.

But things haven’t always been rosey for Messi in his Argentina career.

Messi’s career with his national side couldn’t have got off to a worse start.

In 2005, an 18-year-old Messi was named on the bench for Argentina’s friendly against Hungary.

Messi entered the fray in the 64th minute as he replaced Lisandro Lopez.

Football – Hungary v Argentina – International Friendly – Ferenc Puskas Stadium – Budapest – 17/8/05 Markus Merk – Referee and Juan Pablo Sorin and Lionel Scaloni after he sent of Lionel Messi Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Lee Mills

However, he was not on the field for long as he was shown a red card barely a minute after coming on.

Messi immeditely picked up the ball in the middle of the pitch and began driving at Hungary’s defence.

The diminutive forward was having his shirt tugged by Vilmos Vanczák. Messi, in an attempt to shake his marker off, caught Vanczak in the face with his arm.

The Hungary defender fell to the ground in pain. The referee adjudged that Messi’s actions were deliberate and sent him off.

View the moment below…

Talk about a nightmare debut…

17 years on and we’re still baffled by the decision. Messi looked perplexed after being shown the red card and we can understand why.

There was no malice involved but the referee thought otherwise.

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Messi has only been sent off twice more since then: for Argentina against Chile in 2019 and for Barcelona against Atletico Bilbao in 2021.

Messi, now 34, has played 160 times for Argentina and scored 80 times.

He’ll be looking to lead his national side to glory at the World Cup later this year in Qatar, a tournament that could prove to be his last at international level.

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