Barcelona have lodged an appeal against the two-match ban handed to club skipper Lionel Messi by the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF). He was slammed with the ban as a result of his red card in the final moments of the Spanish Super Cup final encounter with Athletic Bilbao. His red card overshadowed the Spanish Super Cup triumph for Athletic Bilbao.

Lionel Messi lashed out Asier Villalibre as Barcelona tried to get the equaliser needed to force penalties at the end of extra time. It was the first red card for Lionel Messi in his club career. The Argentine international player has previously been sent off twice in the colours of his country.

Lionel Messi had started the new year well with four goals in his last two games in the Spanish La Liga against Athletic Bilbao and Granada until his red card incident against Bilbao at the weekend.

Messi scored twice in the recent 3-2 away victory over Athletic Bilbao, while young midfielder Pedri scored the other goal before the Argentine added a brace in the 4-0 away win over Granada. Frenchman Antoine Griezmann scored the other two goals for the Catalans during the game.

Lionel Messi missed the Spanish Super Cup semi-final triumph over Real Sociedad as a result of a small injury before his return to the Barcelona team ended in dismissal towards the end of the game. Barcelona and Real Sociedad were inseparable at the end of regulation time and extra time after the two teams scored a goal each. Barcelona went on to win the semi-final encounter on penalties to set up a meeting with Athletic Bilbao in the final. On their part, Athletic Bilbao beat previous holders Real Madrid 2-1 courtesy a brace from Raul Garcia. In their final encounter, Barcelona led twice before they were beaten in extra time.


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