Lionel Messi sees second red card of his career as Argentina finishes third in Copa America

Lionel Messi (center) sees red for only the second time in his career. (Getty)
Lionel Messi (center) sees red for only the second time in his career. (Getty)

Here’s something you don’t see every day. Here’s something you’ve only seen one other day.

Lionel Messi was sent off for only the second time in his career on Saturday after getting into a dust-up with Chilean defender Gary Medel late in the first half of the third-place Copa America match.

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In the 37th minute, Messi gave Medel a little shove after the ball went out of play, which prompted Medel to throw his body into Messi in retaliation.

Watch the incident for yourself here:

After extended player protests and a VAR review, both Messi and Medel received red cards.

Did either act really deserve a straight red? Probably not, but the match had been chippy and childish since the opening whistle, and the referee was likely trying to seize control with a power move.

The only other red card in Messi’s career came less than a minute into his Argentina debut in 2005, when he elbowed Hungary’s Vilmos Vanczak in a friendly:

Messi has never been red carded with Barcelona.

It’s understandable he’d be frustrated. This tournament is the latest instance where he has come up short in his quest for a major international trophy, the only thing left to seal unimpeachable greatest-ever status.

Argentina beat Chile 2-1 thanks to goals from Sergio Aguero and Paulo Dybala in the first half. The opener was a particularly heads-up combination from Messi and Aguero off a free kick:

Arturo Vidal scored Chile’s only goal on a penalty in the 59th minute.

And now we await word on whether Messi will play for the national team again. The next shot at international silverware would come at next summer’s Copa America, which is being held as CONMEBOL, South America’s governing body, is switching the event to even-numbered years on the calendar.

Argentina hasn’t won a major trophy since 1993, and reached the World Cup final in 2014 as well as the Copa finals in 2015 and 2016. Both of those latter losses came against Chile in chippy affairs.

Sound familiar? After Saturday, Messi getting red-carded does more than before.

Gary Medel gets in Lionel Messi's face during the fracas that saw both players sent off. (Getty)
Gary Medel gets in Lionel Messi's face during the fracas that saw both players sent off. (Getty)

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