Lionel Messi’s immediate focus will be on Barcelona’s Champions League clash with Juventus on Wednesday but according to reports the Argentina captain will travel to Zurich on May 4th to attend the FIFA disciplinary hearing in relation to his four-match suspension.
AFA president Claudio Tapia has been in Spain to speak with Messi and told TyC Sport, “the meeting with Messi was very positive.”
While the subject of Argentina’s next manager has dominated Tapia’s trip to Europe, the discussion with Messi regarding his suspension has been his only official business, given Sevilla’s stance over target Jorge Sampaoli.
“It was important to come and visit Messi, to share some time and have a chat,” Tapia explained.
“We have hired the best lawyers and we are confident that the appeal will be successful. Four matches isn’t fair.”
It has been rumoured that Messi’s appearance in Zurich will see the suspension cut to two matches, meaning the Barcelona star will only sit out the World Cup qualifier against Uruguay but nothing has yet been confirmed.
Given the video evidence, the AFA and Messi’s defence appears weak as it has been suggested the line of argument will be that the foul-mouthed outburst wasn’t directed at the assistant referee and is a phrase commonly used in Argentina.
Argentine newspaper La Nación have reported that FIFA just want Messi to report to their headquarters and this will be enough to see the punishment halved after he snubbed the invitation to attend the Best Football Awards in January.
Nothing is certain at this stage except what Claudio Tapia said in the same interview: “Messi is the best in the world and we need him a lot.”