By Taiwo Ibrahim
Lionel Messi was sent off for the first time in his Barcelona career in the 3-2 loss to Athletic Bilbao in the Super Cup Final.
Barcelona raced to a 2-1 lead courtesy of a brace by Antoine Griezmann but Bilbao fought back with two late goals from Oscar De Marcos and Villalibre to force the game into extra time.
Inaki Williams scored a stunning goal three minutes into extra time to help Bilbao to a Super Cup glory.
Lionel Messi lost his cool few minutes after William’s goal as he Messi threw an arm at Asier Villalibre in an off the ball incident which was missed by the referee before the intervention of VAR, which ruled that Messi be sent off.
It meant a first ever red card in 753 appearances for Barcelona, to go with his two reds for Argentina in 2005 and 2019.
Barcelona Coach Ronald Koeman reacted to the sending off and defended his decision to play Messi.
“It’s better if I don’t talk,” Koeman said when the referee was brought up afterwards.
“It’d just be repeating things and I don’t like doing that. I’m not going to give my opinion.
“I understand what [Messi] did [at the red card].
“I don’t know how many fouls they committed against him. He tries to dribble and can’t.
“Do I forgive him? I need to see the incident.”
Barcelona are back in action against Cornella in the Copa Del Rey on Thursday.