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Era of GOATs Coming to an End: Netizens 'Bury' Messi After Argentine Gets His First Red Card

Over his 17-year stay at Camp Nou, Lionel Messi has won countless trophies and awards, but what the Argentine has never done is to be sent off the pitch. True, the striker has received two red cards while playing for the Argentine national football team, but his behaviour in Barcelona was impeccable. Well, that was until yesterday, 17 January, when Barcelona faced Athletic Bilbao. Towards the end of the game, the 33-year-old took it out on Asier Villalibre.

Naturally, the news of his suspension caused a stir on social media.

​While some netizens criticised the athlete’s behavior…

​…others defended the striker and pointed to the fact that he has constantly been fouled on.

​The referee made a mistake at the beginning by showing the red card to Jordi Alba instead of Messi. Many users joked that he was too afraid to send off the Argentine star and said that the referee should have shown the red card in another episode.

​Many contended that Barcelona would be better off without Messi and blasted the Argentine for what they described as zero-impact.

​Other users said that the era of great players is coming to an end.

​Still others joked that Messi plans to continue his career as a mixed martial arts fighter and that the striker intentionally got a red card to deflect attention from Barcelona’s poor performance.

​Barcelona’s manager Ronald Koeman said he understands Messi’s actions and emphasised that despite the defeat, the club is making progress.

"I can understand what Messi did. I don't know how many times they fouled him, and it's normal to react when they keep trying to foul you as a player who is looking to dribble with the ball, but I need to see it again properly. We're sad and disappointed but I still think we're on the right path and we're improving", Koeman said.

According to reports, Messi may end up with a four-game ban after his angry outburst. The Royal Spanish Football Federation's competition committee will convene this week to decide on the Argentine’s future. If suspended, he will miss a match in the Copa Del Rey and important games in La Liga.

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