Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman has backed the club’s decision to appeal Lionel Messi’s suspension following the Argentine’s red card against Athletic Club in the Supercopa de Espana final.
As Barcelona led 3-2 in added time, Messi’s run was blocked by Asier Villalibre and the forward responded by hitting the Athletic Club forward in the back of the head.
The incident was not initially seen, but after the referee consulted the VAR monitor, Messi received a straightforward red card – the first of his club career.
Despite reports suggesting the six-time Ballon d’Or winner could face a ban of up to 12 matches, the Spanish Football Federation’s competition committee ruled that a two-match suspension was sufficient – but Barcelona have announced their intention to appeal and they have. supported by Koeman.
“The club told me they don’t agree on that and we’ll see,” said the Barcelona manager (via Blaugranagram.) “There are things that can be defended and that is a question for the club, I hope they will reduce the penalty, otherwise we will play two games without Messi.
“He trained without a problem this morning and that means he’s recovered well from the last game and will be good to play when he has to play after his suspension.
With his two-game suspension, Messi is currently set to miss Barcelona’s Copa del Rey final game against Cornella on Thursday night, followed by La Liga clash on Sunday with Elche in trouble.
He would then be in the running to return the following Sunday for Barcelona’s league encounter with Athletic Club – the team he initially incurred his suspension against.
Barcelona currently sit third in La Liga – seven points behind leaders Atletico Madrid – after another eventful season on and off the pitch.