Lionel Messi is protesting the four-match ban handed to him by FIFA for abusing a match official during Argentina’s World Cup qualifying win against Chile
The Argentine captain is adamant that his insults were aimed “to the air” and not the official.
“My sayings were never addressed to the assistant, but they were said to the air,” Messi said in a statement reported by La Nacion.
The ban has already affected Argentina’s shaky 2018 World Cup prospects as they lost 2-0 to Bolivia in Messi’s absence.
Argentina have already announced that they would appeal the ban, which would see Messi also absent for qualifying matches against Uruguay, Venezuela and Peru if left unchanged.