FC Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi could be suspended for up to 12 matches after he was dismissed for violent conduct during Sunday's Super Cup Final defeat to Athletic Bilbao.
Messi was sent off for the first time in his Barcelona career after being handed his marching orders during Sunday's 3-2 defeat to Athletic after lashing out at opponent Asier Villalibre in the dying minutes of extra time.
In the referees' post-match report, match official Gil Manzano described the 33-year-old's dismissal as a consequence of "hitting an opponent with his arm using excessive force while the ball was in play but not at a distance from being played," per Marca.
Scroll through the gallery below to see 11 players who could be free agents at the end of the season, including Messi
Per the Spanish publication, Messi is likely to be suspended for between one to three matches as a result of his indiscretions but could face a much heftier ban if Sole judge of Competition Carmen Perez deems the Argentine forward to have acted with aggression.
While this eventuality appears highly unlikely, particularly from the wording of the referees' report and other mitigating factors such as Messi's clean record, the six-time Ballon d'Or winner could be suspended for up to 12 matches.
A decision is expected to be made on Tuesday, ahead of Barcelona's upcoming matches against UD Cornella in the Copa Del Rey, and Elche and Athletic Bilbao in LaLiga.