Lionel Messi Given 3-Month CONMEBOL Ban over Corruption Comments

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 2, 2019

TOPSHOT - Argentina's Lionel Messi gestures during the Copa America football tournament third-place match against Chile at the Corinthians Arena in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on July 6, 2019. (Photo by Nelson ALMEIDA / AFP)        (Photo credit should read NELSON ALMEIDA/AFP/Getty Images)

Argentina superstar Lionel Messi received a three-month ban from CONMEBOL on Friday for alleging corruption within the governing body of South American football during the 2019 Copa America tournament.

CONMEBOL announced the punishment (via Marca), which included a $50,000 fine. 

Messi received a red card during Argentina's victory over Chile in the event's third-place match and proceeded to skip the medal ceremony.

"We don't have to be part of this corruption [and] the lack of respect they showed us throughout this tournament," the longtime Barcelona forward told reporters. "Sadly, the corruption, the referees, they don't allow people to enjoy football."

Messi also said he believes CONMEBOL set the tournament up for the host nation of Brazil to win the championship.

"I think the cup is fixed for Brazil," he said. "I hope VAR and the referees have nothing to do in this final and that Peru can compete because they have the team to do so, although I think it's difficult."

Brazil claimed a 3-1 victory over Peru in the final.

The suspension will cause Messi to miss September friendlies against Chile and Mexico in the United States and an October friendly clash with Germany.

Coincidentally, he'll be eligible to return for a Nov. 13 clash with rival Brazil in Japan.