Lionel Messi has been handed a two-match ban for striking an opponent on Saturday in the Spanish Super Cup final, the Royal Spanish Football Federation announced on Tuesday. Messi received his first red card for Barca in the 3-2 loss to Athletic Bilbao and was facing a suspension of up to 12 matches due to his actions. Despite the seemingly light suspension, Barcelona have already announced their intention to appeal the ban. In the match, Messi struck an opponent with a blow to the head, with VAR resulting in a red card by ref Gil Manzano. Take a look:
Article 98 of the disciplinary code says that a player faces a ban of 4-12 matches for a serious offense, but he managed to avoid that in this instance, and luckily for Barcelona he misses two games Barca should win without him.
Were he to serve the ban Messi wouldn't play in Thursday's Copa del Rey clash against third-division Cornella, while also missing Sunday's game at Elche in La Liga and the legendary player can return on Jan. 31 for the match against Athletic Bilbao in La Liga. The appeal complicates that timing as Barcelona will wait to hear the result before Messi serves any penalty.