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11-Sep-2020, 12:10 pm

Messi avoids Argentina ban ahead of World Cup qualifiers

Lionel Messi Argentina 2019

The president of the Argentine Football AssociationClaudio Tapia has confirmed Lionel Messi won't miss any games for his country as theresult ofa red card handed out in 2019.

Messi was controversiallysent offinaCopa America third-place playoff againstChile in July last year andsubsequently handed a one-game ban.

The South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) initially stated Messi would have to sit out a competitivematch, with the Argentina captain allowed to play in friendlies against Brazil and Uruguay late last year.

Ahead ofWorld Cup qualifiers against Ecuador and Bolivia next month, however,Tapia successfully challenged the outstandingban with CONMEBOL, claiming that the statute of limitations on the banhad expired.

Messi had been shown a red card following a clash with Gary Medel in the 37th minute, with the Chilean also sent off for the incident.Argentina would go on to win the game 2-1 thanks to goals from Sergio Aguero and Paulo Dybala.

The decision to send off Messi left the Barcelona star fuming post-match as he claimed the competition had been rigged for Brazil.

"There is no doubt, the whole thing is set up for Brazil," he said."I hope the VAR and referees don't play any part in the final and thatPerucan compete but it looks tough to me.

"I did not want to be part of this corruption, we shouldn't have to be part of this disrespect we suffered during the Copa America.

"We could have gone further but we weren't allowed into the final. Corruption, referees and all the rest stopped people from enjoying the football.

"I always tell the truth and I'm honest, that is what keeps me calm, if what I say has repercussions that is not my business.

"I think that what happened is because of what I said against Brazil. What I said last time perhaps came back to haunt me."

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