FIFA’s decision to hand Lionel Messi a four-match ban for insulting one of the referees of Argentina’s game against Chile last week, left many dissatisfied. The captain of the ‘Albiceleste’ was informed about FIFA’s verdict just a few hours before kick-off in La Paz, where Argentina were to face Bolivia.
Without Messi (and another half a dozen players who were either injured or had reached the cards limit), Argentina went on to lose the game. Even Bolivia’s president though, Evo Morales, took to Twitter to express his solidarity with Messi and the Argentinian team in general.
Morales, a huge fan of football himself, wrote that he didn’t agree with the sanction, that he considers Messi to be the victim in this situation, and he finished his tweet expressing his solidarity with “the best footballer in the world”.
No comparto sanción contra Argentina. Algo conozco de fútbol, la infracción fue a #Messi. Mi solidaridad con el mejor futbolista del mundo.
— Evo Morales Ayma (@evoespueblo) March 28, 2017
Argentina will appeal the sanction, but the way things are right now, they will have to make do without their biggest star in the next three World Cup qualifiers as well.
Their coach, Edgardo Bauza, was in disbelief after hearing the news regarding Messi’s ban, while Mario Kempes, one of Argentina’s key figures when they won the World Cup in 1978, called the punishment “excessive”, and posed a… rhetorical question regarding FIFA’s will to have Argentina in the World Cup finals next year, or not.