Lionel Messi was given a marching order against Athletic Bilbao in the 3-2 defeat in the Spanish Super Cup competition on Sunday.

Messi was irritated by Asier Villalibre’s obstruction and he hit the Athletic Bilbao attacker in an attempt to find a way through.

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When the incident was reviewed on VAR monitor by the referee, he has no option than to send the Barcelona captain off the pitch.

The referee included it in his match report that Messi had been sent off for “hitting an opponent with his arm, using excessive force while the ball was in play but not within a playable distance”.

It is now left for the competition committee to determine the extent of the punishment for the Argentine number 10. If the competition committee considers Messi’s action to be aggression, he could miss between four to 12 games. If it’s seen as a less extreme action, he’ll be out for one to three. Whatever happens, it seems certain that he’ll miss out against Cornella in the Copa del Rey and Elche in LaLiga Santander.

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