FIFA has issued Argentina captain Lionel Messi a four-game-ban just six hours before his country’s World Cup qualifier away at Bolivia.
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Messi was caught on camera insulting assistant referee Dewson Silva during Argentina’s 1-0 win over Chile seven on March 24.
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It is confirmed that Messi would miss the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Bolivia, Uruguay, Paraguay and Venezuela. The 5-time Ballon d’Or winner reportedly aimed at the mother of Brazilian assistant referee Dewson Silva when the incident happened. The referee said he did not hear Messi make comments about his family, but the Barcelona forward was caught on video invoking “the c*** of [Silva’s] mother” as he raged against an officiating decision.
Messi would later refuse to shake the official’s hand after the game.
“I didn’t hear any offensive language from Lionel Messi or anyone else towards myself,” the referee said. “If I heard any offensive words, I would have acted according to the rules of the game.”
Argentina sit in third place in Conmebol’s qualification process, but just three points separate sixth-place Chile and Uruguay in second.