Argentina felt the loss of the suspended Lionel Messi as they were beaten 2-NIL by Bolivia in La Paz in a key World Cup qualifying game.

Barcelona star Messi was hit with a four-game ban by football’s governing body FIFA and fined $10,000 just hours before the game after verbally abusing a match official in a win over Chile on March 24.

He will also miss upcoming games against Uruguay, Paraguay and Venezuela.

Barcelona released a statement today expressing its “surprise and indignation” at the FIFA Disciplinary Committee’s decision, branding the length of the ban “unfair and totally disproportionate.”

The Spanish club went on to reiterate its unwavering support for its all-time record scorer, calling him “an exemplary player in terms of conduct, both on and off the pitch.”



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