Lionel Messi will not be eligible to play for Argentina for the coming three months after CONMEBOL handed the Barcelona icon a three-month ban from international football.

It’s sad news for Argentine National Team fans as Lionel Messi has been handed a three-month suspension in the aftermath of his comments on Copa America after Argentina finished third in the 2019 edition, with Messi being sent off in the first-half in the third place playoff against Chile.

Copa America 2019 saw Brazil take the crown over Peru in the finals, with Argentina finishing third. The South American rivalry was renewed in the semi-finals, with Brazil emerging victorious despite the Argentines dominating possession and having more chances.

Lionel Messi took a shot at CONMEBOL and the refereeing standards of the competition.

Messi said, “We don’t have to be part of this corruption. They have showed us a lack of respect throughout this tournament. Sadly, the corruption, the referees, they don’t allow people to enjoy football, they ruined it a bit.”

Messi and Medel were both sent-off for this altercation in the Third-Placed Playoff at Copa America 2019. (Picture Courtesy - AFP/Getty Images)
Messi and Medel were both sent-off for this altercation in the third place playoff at Copa America 2019. (Picture Courtesy – AFP/Getty Images)

The Barcelona icon inferred that the event was ‘fixed for Brazil’. Messi though, was not the only one to raise a question on the standard of refereeing, with the Argentina FA complaining about ‘serious and gross refereeing errors’ in their 2-0 defeat to Brazil in the semi-finals. CONMEBOL have responded to the allegations, stating that they were baseless and disrespectful.

The governing body has taken a blunt decision, suspending Lionel Messi from international football for the next three months. In addition, the Barcelona forward has been handed a fine of $50,000. While Messi does have seven days to appeal the decision inferred by CONMEBOL, any relaxation is unlikely as the Argentine’s allegations were very direct.

The three-month ban though, is unlikely to affect Argentina much, with Messi set to miss friendlies against the likes of Chile, Mexico and Germany in September and October.

Lionel Messi’s focus though, will now turn towards club football, with a new season at hand. The Barcelona star has seen the club add quality stars to their ranks and the Argentine will look to continue to dazzle the onlookers at Nou Camp.

Perhaps, the ban will allow National Team manager Lionel Scaloni to experiment more during the friendlies before their FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifiers commence from March 2020.

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