Argentina forward Lionel Messi has been banned from the Albiceleste’s next four competitive internationals for swearing at a match official in Thursday’s 1-0 win over Chile
The decision means the 29-year-old will play in only one of Argentina’s remaining five World Cup qualifiers, a severe blow to the two-times world champions who are struggling on the road to Russia 2018.
Argentina are currently sitting third in the 10-team South American group with 22 points from 13 games but have only a two-point cushion over sixth-placed Chile.
The top four qualify directly for next year’s football extravaganza with the fifth side having to lock horns with a team from a different confederation for another place.
Messi will be eligible again when Argentina visit Ecuador on October 10.
Breaking: Lionel Messi will be suspended for four official matches following an incident with an official that occurred on March 23. pic.twitter.com/2RXFwhxAop— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) 28 March 2017