Referee Jesus Gil Manzano – who dismissed Messi during Barcelona’s Spanish Super Cup defeat to Athletic Bilbao after the Argentine swung out at opposition striker Asier Villalibre – is facing calls to be sanctioned for his actions, as well as non-actions.
Frustration had been building for Barcelona, who were chasing a late equaliser and had seen a number of fouls perpetrated on Messi go unpunished.
Jaume Roures, the founding partner of Spanish multimedia group Mediapro, insists Manzano should now face retrospective action having failed to caution Bilbao’s players for their rough challenges on the Barca talisman, saying:
“It is clear that Messi committed an action that he should not have done and that he had never done before,” Roures told Marca.
“But I think we should not have reached the situation in which Messi was because the referee never intervened in the fouls he received.
“If he had shown some yellow cards, we would not have reached that situation.
“They should also sanction the referee. I think Messi will stay [at Barcelona] if he sees a winning project.”
Last Sunday represented the first sending off in all of Messi’s 753 club career matches for Barcelona, and only the third red card received throughout his illustrious career, though his previous two offences were committed while wearing Argentina colors.
The 33-year-old, despite having been aggressively challenged, tackled violently and brutally brought down innumerable times in his career, was first shown a red card in 2005 during an international friendly with Hungary, his second arriving 14 years later against Chile during a Copa America contest.
Credit: Football Tribe Malaysia