After receiving a red card in the Copa America third-place play-off last year, Lionel Messi was facing a one-game ban. The South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) has now provided an update.
The Argentina star was sent off in controversial fashion against Chile, and with the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers looming, the national team was waiting to see if they would have to be without their main star.
Initially, CONMEBOL stated that Messi would need to sit out one competitive match, and with only friendly games against Brazil and Uruguay having been on Argentina's calendar, there was concern that Messi's ban would roll into the upcoming qualifiers.
However, the president of the Argentine Football Association, Claudio Tapia, has now confirmed that Messi will not have to miss any games for his national team due to the red card.
Tapia challenged the outstanding ban and was proved successful, with the FC Barcelona forward now available for their matches against Ecuador and Bolivia.
The official AFA Twitter account stated that CONMEBOL president Alejandro Dominguez "confirmed the statute of limitations had expired and that he (Messi) is able to play".
Messi was sent off against Chile in the 37th minute after a clash with Gary Medel, and produced an explosive post-match interview during which he accused the tournament of being "set up for Brazil".
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