Lionel Messi got Barcelona season back on track after his brace and assist against Real Sociedad in what turned out to be a nervy finish at the Camp Nou.
But Argentina are craving for the magic of Lionel Messi as they battle to qualify for the Wrold Cup in Russia. Messi was handed a four-game ban for his comments against the assistant referee during their 1-0 win over Chile.
The Argentine Football Association (AFA) are not taking the blow lying down and are fighting back. First, they have dug up a video showing Messi didn’t really intend to insult the referee.
The phrase he used was : ‘la concha de tu madre’, and a video shows him using the same phrase during Barcelona’s trophy celebration. (Read here)
But latest reports from Argentina newspaper ‘La Nacion’ have given hope on a reduction. According to the report, all Messi has to do is show up at FIFA’s Swiss headquarters and take pictures.
“FIFA wants Messi to step on Swiss soil and take the picture at his headquarters.” they wrote. And if he does, “it is already defined that the punishment will be reduced to two games”.
Convincing Messi to travel to Switzerland was the main reason newly elected AFA president, Claudio Tapia, traveled to Barcelona.
Tapia told journalist in Barcelona: “We need to get the sanction lowered.”
The hearing on May 4, also sees the AFA fight to include friendly games in the suspension. Argentina have two friendly matches against Brazil and Singapore, before their next Qualifier against Uruguay.
Messi has already missed on game against Bolivia where they lost 2-0. And if he misses the two friendlies he only misses Uruguay and returns back to play Venezuela and Peru.
But should the ban be reduced to two games and the friendly matches included, Messi would play against Uruguay.
Argentina currently sit fifth on the CONMEBOL standings, away from automatic qualification.
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