Slow Motion Footage Of Lionel Messi's Red Card 'Punch' Vs Athletic Bilbao Has Emerged
Slow motion footage of Lionel Messi's red card 'punch' on Asier Villalibre has emerged - with some thinking the decision was incredibly harsh.
Messi took a swing at Bilbao forward Villalibre in the final moments of extra time and referee Jesus Gil Manzano chose to show a red after consulting VAR.
But a better view of the incident shows the 33-year-old didn't make much contact with his opponent with the 'punch'.
Fans have reacted to the saga and Messi's dismissal was certainly controversial.
One commented: "The thing about this referee and some others, they are very quick to draw and caution or send off a Barcelona player."
A second added: "I knew that another angle would give a different outlook lol."
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While a third said: "NOW THIS IS AN ANGLE WE SHOULDVE GOT BEFORE. ITS A YELLOW NOTHING MORE LMAO."
But some Barcelona fans still think the Argentine international deserved to see red for a moment of madness, with a supporter explaining: "I'm from Barca and I keep seeing red."
Manager Ronald Koeman defended his captain following the game and insisted his reaction was 'normal' after constant fouling.
"I can understand what Messi did," the Dutchman confessed after the match per Daily Mail.
"I don't know how many times they fouled him, and it's normal to react when they keep trying to foul you as a player who is looking to dribble with the ball, but I need to see it again properly."
Messi sees red for an off-the-ball swing. pic.twitter.com/PAW8cm95OR- ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) January 17, 2021
Many wondered if Messi would be fit enough for Sunday's game, having missed the semi-final win over Real Sociedad with injury earlier in the week.
Koeman continued: "I think after so many years at the top level, he knows when he can play and when he can't. I spoke with him and he said he was fit enough to start the game."
Do you think Lionel Messi deserved a red card for his off-ball swing?
Featured Image Credit: @esmoneo/Twitter
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