Lionel Messi’s four-match ban has been described as “nonsense” by former Argentina and Barcelona coach Cesar Luis Menotti.
Messi was handed the suspension after FIFA investigated video footage of him waving his arms and aiming insults at the referee’s assistant Marcelo Van Gasse in the closing stages of Argentina’s 1-0 victory over Chile in Buenos Aires last week.
The 29-year-old’s actions after he was penalised for a foul were not initially included in referee Sandro Ricci’s report, but that has not spared him punishment.
Argentina announced their intention to appeal the sanction, which Menotti considers to be excessive.
“I think four matches is nonsense,” Menotti told Todo Noticias. “What Messi did was not that serious.
“There are actions that are ill-intended and sometimes they only give them [a ban for] two matches.
“This was something verbal. The sanction is exaggerated.”
Messi is now ruled out of Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier against Bolivia, as well as meetings with Uruguay, Venezuela and Peru next season.
Angel Correa will replace the captain in the starting line-up in La Paz, with Edgardo Bauza’s side severely depleted by injuries and bans.
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