Things turned from bad to worse as the humiliating defeat against Athletic Bilbao in the Spanish Super Cup final was topped when Lionel Messi slapped Asier Villalibre in the 120th minute of the game.
Consequently, VAR checked Messi’s actions, and he was sent off for the same – picking up his first ever red card in his club career, on his 753rd appearance in all completions for Barcelona.
Messi was not even fit to play the final till the last day when late fitness tests deemed that he could participate. Sadly, it was enough for Barcelona as a 93rd-minute belter from Inaki Williams was enough to seal the title for Bilbao.
The six-time Ballon d’Or winner has been sent off on two occasions before, but both during his time with Argentina. His first came two minutes into his debut with the National team in 2005 against Hungary, and the second quite recently against Chile in 2019.
Post that, despite picking several yellow cards, Messi had never been sent off, until tonight. There is also a chance that he will be fined and banned for violent conduct, with a suspension in the league inevitable.
Just in: Neymar’s entourage confirms renewal with PSG as he ‘likes the project’
Fabrizio Romano has broken huge news as part of Neymar’s contract situation with Paris Saint-Germain, which all but officially announces that the Brazilian will be staying in France, contrary to what has been reported recently. The report suggests that that he will sign his extension soon, which is bound to include a massive UCL bonus.
Neymar’s entourage have confirmed his decision to stay with the Paris outfit in conversation with France Football, saying, “Neymar wants to stay at PSG. He sees that the club is growing. He likes the project.”
Neymar is expected to sign soon his new contract with Paris Saint-Germain until June 2026, huge UCL bonus confirmed too. His entourage just announced to France Football: “Neymar wants to stay at PSG. He sees that the club is growing. He likes the project”. 🇧🇷 #PSG https://t.co/LMnrpctSkx— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) April 12, 2021
PSG have, in fact, actually enjoyed success in Europe in the recent past. They reached the Champions League final last season, crumbling only to the unstoppable Bayern Munich by a mere one goal to nil. Since then, they have fired Thomas Tuchel, and hired Mauricio Pochettino, who inspired an incredible victory against Bayern in this season’s Champions League quarters. Spearheaded by Neymar and Mbappe, the capital-side hit the defending champions for three goals, conceding two.
Despite their lead in the UCL, they do not have a stronghold on the trophy with the likes of Manchester City, Chelsea, and Real Madrid still in the running. It becomes a lot more problematic when you realise their situation in Ligue 1.
PSG look far from comfortable in the league, which is a shocker to say the least. As it stands, Pochettino’s mean are in second place with 66 points, three adrift of Lille who top the table with one of the most impressive defensive records in Europe.
A season without either of the big trophies might force Neymar to have a change of mind, with the Barcelona project looking much more comprehensive under Joan Laporta. In fact, the new President might look at the Brazilian as the key that will allow Lionel Messi to stay at the club. We do the same rumours annually, so it is only fair if any of these ‘confirmations’ are turned on their head in the coming weeks.