Messi has protested his innocence after being handed a four-match ban
The Barcelona forward believes he has been unfairly punished with a four-match ban, insisting his insults were not aimed at an official.
The Barcelona star scored the only goal of the game in a World Cup qualifying win against Chile, but his second-half clash with an assistant led to a ban in the hours before a second crucial clash with Bolivia.
Argentina lost 2-0 in La Paz without their star player and Messi is adamant that the ban is unfair as he did not direct his frustrations towards the officials.
Argentina captain Lionel Messi has protested his innocence after being handed a four-match ban for abusing an official, insisting his insults were aimed “to the air”.
“My sayings were never addressed to the assistant, but they were said to the air,” he said in a statement reported by La Nacion .
Argentina have already announced an intention to appeal the ban, which would see Messi also absent for qualifying matches against Uruguay, Venezuela and Peru if unchanged.
“We are surprised by the decision that has been taken,” national team secretary Jorge Miadosqui said on Tuesday. “We are very angry because of the way it was handled hours before playing.
Argentina are in fifth place in the CONMEBOL section with four games of the campaign remaining.