Lionel Messi was shown the first red card of his Barcelona career as they were beaten 3-2 by Athletic Bilbao in the Spanish Super Cup final on Sunday. Messi, in his 753rd appearance for Barca, swung at Asier Villalibre in the final seconds of extra time – an incident spotted by the VAR.
Barca led twice through Antoine Griezmann but Oscar de Marcos and Villalibre, in the final minute, scored as Athletic replied each time. Inaki Williams scored a fine winner. The game in Seville was set to be remembered as an entertaining encounter – and for Athletic’s second trophy since 1985 – until the late drama.
Messi lashed out at goalscorer Villalibre off the ball in the 120th minute. The referee missed the clash at the time before viewing it on the VAR screen and dismissing Messi. The 33-year-old had only been sent off twice before, both for Argentina – on his international debut against Hungary in 2005 and in the 2019 Copa America third-place play-off against Chile.
He could now be banned for at least four domestic games, with Super Cup suspensions carrying over to league and cup matches. After the match Villalibre celebrated by playing the trumpet for his team-mates on the pitch.