By Abba Gwale

Lionel Messi could be suspended for up to 12 matches after being red carded in Barcelona’s Supercopa de Espana final loss to Athletic Bilbao.

The superstar forward was dismissed for the first time in his club career – and just a third time overall – for striking opponent Asier Villalibre.

According to reports from Spain, Messi now faces being suspended for anywhere between one and 12 games, depending on how severe the Spanish FA deem the incident.

If the Argentina international is deemed to have acted in an aggressive manner, he could face a lengthy spell in the stands.

Should the incident be judged as non-aggressive, however, a ban of between one and three games is the expected outcome.

Messi was given his marching orders in the 120th minute of Sunday’s loss to Athletic as Barca were denied their first piece of silverware under boss Ronald Koeman

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