MADRID: Lionel Messi was sent off for the first time since joining Barcelona when Athletic Bilbao stunned the Catalan club to win the Spanish Super Cup, with a dramatic 3-2 victory after extra time.
Shortly before Bilbao’s success, Messi fouled Asier Villalibre, who had previously scored an equalizer in the 90th minute of real-time, further denying Barca victory.
Antoine Griezmann’s two goals seemed to confirm Barcelona’s trophy but Villalibre’s goal followed by Inaki Williams’ great three-minute goal in extra time proved to be crucial.
Messi set aside a thigh injury problem to start in Seville and had to play all 120 minutes as Barcelona tried to bring the game to a penalty shootout.
On the other hand, the 33-year-old lost his temper at the end of the competition when he responded to Villalibre’s challenge.
It means that Messi received the first red card in 753 appearances for Barcelona in addition to two red cards received while playing for Argentina in 2005 and 2019.
“After a long time in football, Leo knows perfectly well when he is fit to play,” said Barca coach Ronald Koeman.
“We talked and he was in good shape to start the match. He survived the match, gave maximum contribution, nothing more.”