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Messi banned for just two games after first Barcelona red card but appeal still lodged at Camp Nou

Lionel Messi has avoided a lengthy ban after collecting the first red card of his Barcelona career, with the Argentine set to sit out just two games on the back of his Spanish Super Cup dismissal against Athletic Club, but the Blaugrana will still be lodging an appeal.

The RFEF, which controls disciplinary matters in Spain, has ruled that the six-time Ballon d’Or winner will not have to serve a lengthy suspension for lashing out at Asier Villalibre.

It had been suggested that the mercurial South American could face up to 12 games stuck on the sidelines as a result of his reckless actions.

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The match officials and RFEF have, however, decided that there was no aggression on the part of Messi, meaning that standard sentences will be implemented.

Carmen Perez, president of the Competition Committee, was put in sole charge of passing a ruling on Messi.

The RFEF only presides over league matters in Spain, with Messi’s misdemeanour occurring in cup action.

Perez has listened to the arguments put forward by Barca regarding their talismanic captain and decided that two games in the stands will be enough.

As a result, Messi is due to sit out meetings with Cornella in the Copa del Rey and Elche in La Liga.

The 33-year-old will be relieved to learn that he will be available again by January 31, with it likely that his next outing for the Blaugrana will come against Athletic Club - if an appeal falls on deaf ears.

Revenge will be sought in that contest, with Barca still smarting at having seen the Super Cup slip through their grasp.

Messi’s rush of blood came during extra-time of a fixture in Seville that Ronald Koeman’s side had led on two occasions.

With the scores level at 2-2 after 90 minutes, it was left to Inaki Williams to snatch a dramatic decider in the third minute of extra-time.

Messi saw red in stoppage-time, as frustration got the better of him, and another piece of major silverware slipped through his grasp as he trudged down the tunnel.

Koeman refused to condemn the actions of his skipper afterwards, saying: “I can understand what Messi did.

“I don't know how many times they fouled him, and it's normal to react when they keep trying to foul you as a player who is looking to dribble with the ball, but I need to see it again properly.”

Barca will be back in action on Thursday against Cornella in the last 32 of the Copa del Rey.