Lionel Messi Could Face Two-Year International Ban And Miss Copa America On Home Soil Next Summer
Lionel Messi could be denied another chance to finally win an international tournament with Argentina as he reportedly faces a two-year ban.
The Barcelona superstar saw another shot at international glory pass him by at Copa America, and could miss next summer's tournament on home soil as well.
Messi's post match comments, after Argentina's third place play-off win over Chile, could land him with a two-year ban, according to Spanish outlet AS.
That would mean missing next summer's Copa America on home soil and some of Argentina's World Cup 2022 qualifiers.
Annoyed at refereeing decisions in the semi-final loss against hosts Brazil, the five time Ballon d'Or winner explained his annoyance at perceived 'corruption,' in the post third place play-off 'mixed zone,' saying, "I didn't go to the podium because we shouldn't be part of the corruption and lack of respect.
"We were meant for more but they didn't let us be in the final. The corruption and the refs didn't allow the people to enjoy and football is ruined.
"The corruption and the referees didn't allow us to be in the final. You have to say the truth.
"Brazil champions? No doubt. Sadly, I think the Copa is set up for Brazil.
"Hopefully the refs and VAR will have nothing to do with it and Peru will be able to compete because they have the team to do it."
CONMEBOL rules state that players cannot 'behave in an offensive, insulting manner or perform defamatory statements of any kind' and 'insult in any way and by any means to CONMEBOL its authorities, officials.'
The maximum punishment for those offenses is two years and that could mean that Messi denies himself yet another opportunity to finally win international silverware.
Despite the Copa just finishing there's another one next summer. The South American tournament will be moving to even number years to put it in line with the Euros.
Instead of waiting five years for the next one they're having another tournament next summer, co hosted by Colombia and Argentina.
Messi and Argentina lost three finals in a row from 2014-16, losing the World Cup in 2014 and the previous back-to-back Copas in 2015 and 2016 but have fallen well short in their last two tournaments.
They were knocked out in the 2nd round of last summer's World Cup before their semi-final loss last week to hosts Brazil.
Will Messi ever win silverware with Argentina?