There’s no doubt that Lionel Messi is the G.O.A.T.
A talented player who has scored some fantastic goals and won numerous Championship titles with Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, and the Argentina national team.
Still, Messi is not without his faults. He’s been sent off the football pitch several times. But how many red cards does Messi have, and what did he do to get them?
Continue reading to find out.
Messi’s Red Cards
Besides being one of the highest-paid football players, it is safe to say that Lionel Messi is one of the players who has significantly influenced the football world. His incredible skills made him a fan favourite, with over a thousand appearances on the football field.
This doesn’t mean Messi doesn’t occasionally break the rules, and he is definitively no stranger to red cards. He has been shown a red card by the referee three times during his professional football career.
The number of red cards in Lionel Messi’s career is way lower than that of his great rival, Ronaldo, who had the red square waived at him 11 times.
Two of Messi’s red cards happened while he was playing for the Argentina national team, while he was wearing his Barcelona club shirt for the third.
Lionel Messi’s First Red Card
Instead of celebrating his debut for the Argentina team and seizing the opportunity to show his talent on the pitch, “La Pulga” was sent off by the referee’s whistle announcing a red card mere minutes after joining the game. Sadly, the promising 18-year-old footballer spent the rest of the friendly match against Hungary in the locker room.
But what did he do to deserve a dismissal?
In 2005, Lionel Messi got on the football field in the 64th minute of the game as a substitute for Lisandro Lopez. Unfortunately, the not-so-experienced Messi got caught up in the moment while attempting to score a goal. Hungarian full-back, Vanczak, was pulling Messi’s jersey, making a foul, and the Argentinian footballer accidentally hit his rival.
Messi disagreed with the referee’s decision and claimed he was only trying to free himself from his opponent’s grip. But unfortunately, there was no space for debate, and the G.O.A.T. got his first red card on the Ferenc Puskas Stadion in Budapest, Hungary.
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Lionel Messi’s Second Red Card
Fast forward 14 years from the first one of the Messi red cards, he got his second one at Corinthians Arena in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in July 2019. Then, Messi booked his red card against Chile, where they played for third place in the Copa America competition.
Both Messi and his opponent Gary Medel got red cards in the 37th minute of the match. As the ball was getting closer to the goal area, both footballers rushed toward it. Messi slightly pushed Mendel, resulting in both of them leaving the field with the ball.
Shortly after this incident, Mendel and Messi lost their temper and started aggressively bumping their chest into each other.
The referee waved red cards for both players. He consulted the Video Assistant Referee (VAR), but his decision remained the same. Many believe that Messi wasn’t showing any aggression signs worthy of a red card.
Lionel Messi’s Third Red Card
The last of Lionel Messi’s red cards in his career happened during the Barcelona and Athletic Club match in January 2021. After an extended play of 121 minutes, we witnessed one of the rare occasions where Messi could not hold his anger.
The thought drove him that his team, Barcelona, was losing, and the pressure of the finishing minutes of the match made Messi make a disallowed contact with Asier Villalibre. Right after Messi passed the ball, he hit Villalibre, who fell on the pitch.
Initially, the main referee didn’t react to the contact between the players. Instead, the fourth referee alerted him to see a VAR event review. After watching the video, the main referee sent Messi off.
Because of his behaviour, Messi didn’t see the end of the Supercup final match. On top of that, he got a two-match ban, stopping him from playing the game against Cornella in the Copa Del Rey and the match against Elche from the LaLiga.
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Why Doesn’t Messi Get Many Red Cards?
There is no straightforward answer to the question of why isn’t Messi one of the footballers with a lot of red cards. Some believe that the main advantage Messi has is his position on the football field. He spends most of the time attacking, and his rivals usually make unallowed moves to take the ball from him.
Others think his style of play and character are the true causes why one of the best free-kick takers has only three red cards in his pro career. He isn’t often trying to get the ball from the opposite team, which automatically gives him fewer chances to break the rules, make fouls, or get cards.
How Many Yellow Cards Does Messi Have?
The famous number 10 has earned 82 yellow cards playing for clubs and eight yellow cards from matches he played for his national team. That totals up to 90 yellow cards in Messi’s professional football career.
The breakdown of yellow cards Messi earned in a club jersey are:
- La Liga – 50 yellow cards from 520 appearances
- Champions League – 13 yellow cards from 156 appearances
- Copa del Rey – 16 yellow cards from 80 appearances
- Supercopa – one yellow card from 20 appearances
- UEFA Super Cup – one yellow card from four appearances
- Cup World Cup – one yellow card from five appearances
Messi also got yellow cards while representing Argentina in the following competitions:
- World Cup Qualification – one yellow card in 60 games
- International Friendlies – three yellow cards in 48 games
- Copa América – three yellow cards in 34 games
- World Cup – one yellow card in 19 games
The number of yellow cards Messi has accumulated is not exceptionally high for a professional football player who participated in more than a thousand games.
Even the most experienced soccer players can occasionally break the game’s rules and earn themselves a red card.
So there you have it, a simple answer to the question, “how many red cards does Messi have?”
Considering the total number of football games he has played, we can agree that Messi is not causing any serious trouble on the football pitch. Other than trouble to opposing teams, of course.