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Messi To Miss Elche Clash As Barcelona Have Ban Appeal Rejected

by Nationnaija
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The Argentine will be unavailable for Ronald Koeman’s side as he serves the second of a two-match ban following his red card against Athletic Club 

Lionel Messi will miss Barcelona’s La Liga clash with Elche on Sunday after the appeal committee decided to uphold the two-match ban handed to the Argentine following his red card against Athletic Club.

The 33-year-old was dismissed by referee Jesus Gil Manzano in the final moments of extra time of the Supercopa de Espana clash, that Athletic went on to win 3-2.

It was the first sending off of Messi’s club career, with the two other red cards he had received in his professional career having come whilst representing Argentina.

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Manzano dismissed the forward after he caught Athletic striker Asier Villalibre with a flailing arm, not long after Inaki Williams had given Marcelino’s side the lead in Sunday’s final.

Barca did, however, surprisingly decide to appeal the ban despite Messi only receiving a two-match suspension.

And that appeal has been unsuccessful, with Messi now due to serve what is the second of his two-game ban having already been absent for the 2-0 extra-time win over Cornella in the Copa del Rey.

With no additional games having been added to the Argentine’s ban, Messi will now be available to face Rayo Vallecano in the last 16 of the Copa del Rey, with the tie due to be played on January 27.

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Despite the six-time Ballon d’Or winner being a pivotal part of Ronald Koeman’s side, it remains to be seen if he’ll be staying in Catalunya beyond the end of the 2020-21 campaign.

Messi’s contract expires in the summer and, having previously expressed a desire to leave the club only to be blocked from doing so, it could be that he exits on a free transfer.

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Indeed, Barca have not made any significant progress over convincing Messi to pen a new deal, with the likes of Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain having been mooted as possible landing spots for the player.

Messi enjoyed huge success with Pep Guardiola during the City manager’s spell at Barca, while PSG have Mauricio Pochettino, a fellow Argentine, in place as head coach and have been stepping up the charm offensive in recent weeks.

And, crucially, both clubs seemingly have the financial resources to afford Messi’s wages, which would likely make him the highest-paid player at either club.

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