Lionel Messi was gearing up to take on Bolivia in Tuesday’s CONMEBOL match up, but things changed six hours prior to kick off, the Argentinian magician was informed by FIFA that he will be suspended four matches for his actions late in the March 23 World Cup qualifying match against Chile, where he reportedly insulted an assistant referee multiple times.
After the game, Messi refused to shake hands with assistant referee Emerson Carvalho, and was slapped with a $10,000 fine by FIFA after scoring the winning goal to lead Argentina over Chile 1-0. The ruling states the 29-year-old will be ineligible to suit up for Tuesday’s (March 28) contest against Bolivia, as well as the three subsequent World Cup qualifying match ups in Argentina’s future (Uruguay, Paraguay and Venezuela).
Argentina is currently sitting in third place for the CONMEBOL qualifying behind Uruguay and Brazil, the suspension puts the national team in a tough predicament, with not much time to prepare for Bolivia without number 10 on the field. Sergio Aguero has also been dropped from the team for the upcoming match, making for a depleted Argentina roster.
Lionel Messi paid the Argentina National Team security’s salary for 6 months.
They were not paid by AFA so Messi paid them. 👏🏻🇦🇷 pic.twitter.com/s3xWKovR3w
— Premier League (@EPLBible) March 28, 2017
Argentina takes on Bolivia Tuesday afternoon (March 28) at 4 p.m. EST, who they have handled rather easily in the past. Is this Bolivia’s chance?
Breaking: Lionel Messi will be suspended for four official matches following an incident with an official that occurred on March 23. pic.twitter.com/2RXFwhxAop
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 28, 2017