Lionel Messi: Argentina captain escaped ban ahead of World Cup qualifiers

Lionel Messi: Argentina captain escaped ban ahead of World Cup qualifiers

- Lionel Messi was shown a red card in the 3rd place play-off of the Copa America last year

- The Argentine was due to miss a competitive game, but he played in two friendlies late in the year

- He has just been cleared to feature in any game for his country

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Lionel Messi is eligible to play in any of Argentina’s fixtures when the World Cup qualifiers begin in South America despite the red card he received in 2019, GOAL reports.

Claudio Tapia, the president of the Argentine Football Association, has disclosed that their captain will be able to play any game for the country when national duty calls.

Messi received a controversial red card in a Copa America 3rd-place play-off game against Chile in July 2019 which means he should miss a competitive game.

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And the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) confirmed that the player will miss a competitive game, however he was allowed to feature in friendly games against Brazil and Uruguay later in the year.

Argentina will face Ecuador and Bolivia in October, however Argentina have challenged the Lionel Messi outstanding ban with CONMEBOL claiming that the statute of limitations on the ban had expired.

Lionel Messi: Argentina captain escaped ban ahead of World Cup qualifiers

Lionel Messi shown red card in 2019 Copa America 3rd place play-off. Photo Credit: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

Recall that Messi was sent-off in the 37th minute during the game against Chile when he clashed with Gary Mendel who was also red carded for the incident.

Argentina would go on to win the game 2-1 thanks to goals from Sergio Aguero and Paulo Dybala.

It left the Barcelona star furious during the post-match conference as he claimed the competition was rigged for Brazil.

"There is no doubt, the whole thing is set up for Brazil," he said. "I hope the VAR and referees don't play any part in the final and that Peru can compete but it looks tough to me.

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"I did not want to be part of this corruption, we shouldn't have to be part of this disrespect we suffered during the Copa America.

"We could have gone further but we weren't allowed into the final. Corruption, referees and all the rest stopped people from enjoying the football."

Legit.ng earlier reported that Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho has aimed a dig at Manchester City over their attempts to sign Lionel Messi when the Argentine wanted out at Barcelona.

The Citizens and a few other clubs including Man United, Chelsea, Inter Milan and Paris Saint Germain all showed their interest in the 33-year-old.

Though, the six-time Ballon d'Or winner has decided to see out his contract at Camp Nou before considering a move away from the club.

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