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How many red cards has Lionel Messi received in his career

Lionel Messi, considered one of the greatest soccer players of all time. He also earns recognition for his calm and respectful behavior on the field. However, even the best players can lose their temper or make mistakes sometimes, and Messi is no exception. In this article, we will look at how many red cards Messi has received in his career. We also look into what the reasons are behind them with video as well.

Red cards received by Messi

messi red cards
messi red cards

The referee gives a red card to a player who commits a serious foul or misconduct during a soccer match. When a player gets a red card, they have to leave the field right away. No one else can take their place. The team that loses a player due to a red card has to play with one less player for the rest of the match. This will be a huge disadvantage for that team.

Messi’s Red Cards: A Summary

Messi has received a total of three red cards in his professional career so far. Two of them were while playing for his national team, Argentina, and one of them was while playing for his former club, FC Barcelona. Here is a summary of Messi’s red cards:

August 15, 2005ArgentinaHungaryFriendlyElbowing an opponent
June 6, 2019ArgentinaChileCopa AméricaClashing with an opponent
January 17, 2021FC BarcelonaAthletic BilbaoSupercopa de EspañaHitting an opponent
messi red card

Messi’s Red Cards: A Detailed Look

Now, let’s take a closer look at each of Messi’s red cards and the circumstances that led to them.

Messi’s First Red Card

Messi’s First Red Card
Lionel Messi’s First Red Card

Messi’s first red card was also his first appearance for Argentina. He was only 18 years old when he made his debut for his country in a friendly match against Hungary in Budapest on August 15, 2005. He came on as a substitute in the 64th minute, replacing Lisandro Lopez. After only two minutes on the field, the referee sent him off for elbowing Vilmos Vanczak, who had grabbed his shirt.

Messi claimed that he was only trying to free himself from the defender’s grip, but the referee saw it as a violent act and showed him a straight red card. The decision shattered Messi, and people saw him crying in the dressing room after the match.

Messi’s Second Red Card

Messi’s Second Red Card
Lionel Messi’s Second Red Card

Messi’s second red card came 14 years later, in the 2019 Copa América, which was held in Brazil. Argentina faced Chile in the third-place match of the tournament on June 6, 2019. Messi scored the first goal in the 12th minute, but trouble started in the 37th minute. He was going after a ball in the Chilean penalty area when Gary Medel, the Chile captain, blocked him and shoved him with his chest. That’s when things got heated between them. Messi responded by bumping his chest back, and the two players exchanged some words.

The referee intervened and decided to send off both players with red cards, although there was no physical aggression from either side. Messi was furious with the decision and refused to collect his medal after the match. He accused the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) of corruption and favoring Brazil, the hosts and eventual winners of the tournament. Messi was later fined and suspended for his comments.

Messi’s Third Red Card

Messi’s Third Red Card
Lionel Messi’s Third Red Card

Messi received his third and most recent red card during his final season with FC Barcelona, where he earned legendary status. This incident happened on January 17, 2021. Barcelona confronted Athletic Bilbao in the Supercopa de España final—a tournament showcasing the winners and runners-up of the previous season’s La Liga and Copa del Rey.

The match was tied at 2-2 after 90 minutes and went into extra time. In the last moments of the game, Barcelona was behind 3-2, and Messi accidentally lost the ball to Asier Villalibre. His reaction was to swing his arm at the striker’s face. Although the referee missed it initially, after checking the video, he gave Messi a red card for being too aggressive. In his 753 appearances for Barcelona, Messi had never been sent off before this incident. Despite later apologizing for his action, he still received a two-match ban. He also received a fine for his red card.


Lionel Messi is undoubtedly one of the best and most admired soccer players in history. However, he is not immune to controversy or mistakes. In his career, he has received three red cards, a notably low number compared to some other players. But each of these incidents marked a significant and memorable event. Messi’s red cards show that he is human and that he can also lose his cool or act impulsively in some situations. However, they do not diminish his achievements or his reputation as a soccer legend.

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