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Barcelona's Lionel Messi suspended for four Argentina matches


Brazil v Argentina - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Qualifier Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images

Things aren't going well for Lionel Messi when it comes to his national team.

In the same night where he won the World Cup qualifier against Chile on a controversial penalty, Messi insulted one of the assistant referees with a phrase we'd rather not repeat here. Leo was charged by FIFA because of the incident, and the ruling on his punishment came in on Tuesday.

It is a very heavy punishment:

Footballer Lionel Messi has been found guilty of violating art. 57 of the FDC for having directed insulting words at an assistant referee.

As a result, Lionel Messi will be suspended for four official matches and sanctioned with a fine of CHF 10,000. The first match for which the sanction will apply is the next fixture in the preliminary competition of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ between Bolivia and Argentina, which will be played today, 28 March. The remainder of the sanction will be served over Argentina’s subsequent FIFA World Cup qualifying matches.

Source: FIFA

Argentina will obviously appeal the ruling, but the chances of getting out of the suspension are very small. Messi has carried Argentina to the third place in the South American group, but if he's indeed out for the next four games, the chances of Leo not being in Russia next year are quite significant.

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