Lionel Messi suspended for four World Cup qualifiers over match official abuse
Argentina and Barcelona star Lionel Messi has been hit with a four-game ban by football's governing body FIFA and fined $10,000 after verbally abusing a match official while on international duty, APA reports quoting CNN.
The 29-year-old learned of his fate just hours before his country's crucial qualifying clash with Bolivia. He will also miss upcoming games against Uruguay, Paraguay and Venezuela.
Messi became animated at the end of Argentina's 1-0 World Cup qualifying victory over Chile on March 24 -- a game settled by the forward's first-half penalty.
After being flagged for a foul, he waved his arms and sent a volley of verbal abuse at the referee's assistant.