Argentia star Lionel Messi has been fined $50,000 and suspended from international football for three months for the controversial accusations he made after he was red-carded in the third-place playoff against Chile in the Copa America 2019. The Barcelona star will miss friendly matches against Chile (September 5), Mexico (September 10) and Germany (October 10) and another match from the World Cup qualifiers.
The 32-year-old superstar accused football body CONMEBOL of corruption after he got red-carded against Chile. Argentina eventually won the match 2-1 with goals from Sergio Aguero and Paulo Dybala. The Argentine was sent off in the 37th minute of the match after he went into a brawl with Chile defender Gary Medel. The sending off infuriated football fans and former players raised their voices against the decision.
The Argentine legend had been fuming after the semi-final loss against Brazil and this escalated his anger. After the match, he criticised the referee and gave some statements which raised the eyebrows of the CONMEBOL authorities.
"We don't have to be part of this corruption. The lack of respect that they have shown us throughout this tournament. Sadly, the corruption, the referees, they don't allow people to enjoy football, they ruined it a bit," he said.
"I think the cup is fixed for Brazil. I hope that the VAR and the referees have nothing to do in this final and that Peru can compete because they have the team to do so although I think it's difficult," he added.
CONMEBOL condemned the accusations and stated the comments to be unacceptable and showing lack of respect. Now, they have put a ban on the Barcelona legend.
Messi has seen the red card once before in international games against Hungary in his debut match in 2005.
At this moment the Barca star is focused on his new season with Barcelona. Having Antoine Griezmann on his side, it will be interesting to see how he coordinates with the Frenchman to defend the La Liga title.