Lionel Messi sent off vs Bilbao: When did Barcelona star receive his first career red card?


Lionel Messi went 752 matches for Barcelona without being sent off - but that record's now in tatters. 

The Argentine was dismissed for hitting out at Athletic Bilbao’s Asier Villalibre right at the end of extra-time in the Super Cup final. 

Initial reports suggested he could be banned for up to 12 games - a suspension which would have bordered on hysteria. 

Instead, he's now been ruled out of Barcelona's next two games, as the act was not deemed aggressive enough to warrant a more severe punishment. 

Now, it's a stretch to say that the six-time Ballon d'Or winner is normally mild-mannered.

There are plenty of times when he's lost his head, but the fact he has only just received his first red for his club is quite remarkable.

Messi's disciplinary record for his country isn't quite so squeaky clean. He's been sent off twice, the latest of those coming in the 2019 Copa America third-place playoff against Chile. 

But to recall the first dismissal of his career, we have to trawl through the history books all the way to August 17, 2005. 

It should have been a historic occasion for the Albiceleste as it was their exciting young phenomenon's international debut. 

Messi's first ever red card 

Many won't remember the first time he graced the world stage, though, and that's because it didn't last very long. 

While he managed to play for over a decade for Barcelona without seeing red, he lasted just 40 seconds for Argentina against Hungary. 

That's not to say his red card at the Ferenc Puskas Stadium - which also came for 'striking' an opponent - wasn't controversial: 

Harsh? Messi seemed to make very little contact with his trailing arm and the player's face. 

A theatrical reaction earned him his marching orders in the 65th minute - and he'd only been brought on as a substitute in the 64th. 

It was far from the international debut he'll have dreamed about growing up in Rosario. 

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