August 5 – Lionel Messi has been banned from international football for three months after claiming the Copa America was “corrupt”.
The Argentine skipper and superstar was sent off in his country’s third-place play-off win over Chile and later levelled accusations at Conmebol by charging the competition “was fixed” in favour of hosts Brazil who beat Messi’s team in the semi-finals. He has also been $50,000 – pocket money given his riches.
Messi did not attend the ceremony to pick up his third-place medal following his dismissal for which he was handed a one-match ban. Conmebol said the Barcelona forward’s comments were “unacceptable”.
The ban means Messi will miss Argentina’s upcoming friendlies against Chile and Mexico in the United States in September and another against Germany in Dortmund on October 9. He can appeal against the latest sanctions within seven days.
Following Argentina’s 2-0 semi-final defeat by Brazil, the Argentine Football Association complained about “serious and gross refereeing errors”.
In response, Conmebol said accusations questioning the integrity of the Copa America were “unfounded” and “represent a lack of respect”.
Ironically, the ban is good news for Barcelona since Messi will have some time off before Barça host Valencia the weekend of September 14. The situation will be repeated in October when Messi should be fresh for Barça’s trip to Eibar the weekend of October 19.
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