January 18 – Lionel Messi was sent off for the first time while playing for Barcelona as the Catalan giants suffered a 3-2 loss to Athletic Bilbao in the final of the Spanish Super Cup.
It was the first red card Messi has ever received as a Barcelona player, coming in his 753rd appearance for the club. Messi could now face at least a four-game ban for his actions, depending on a review from the Spanish FA.
Iñaki Williams’ goal in extra time gave Athletic the lead and a come-from-behind win. Barcelona had little chance of recovering when Messi swung his right arm toward the head of an Athletic player while trying to free himself. Messi was shown the red card following a video review.
Messi’s goalbound effort was blocked, falling to the feet of Antoine Griezmann, who netted the first of his two goals.
Bilbao’s responded as Oscar De Marcos met Inaki Williams’ cross two minutes later to send the sides in level at halftime.
Raul Garcia’s header was disallowed for offside by VAR after the restart as Bilbao had the better chances in a tense affair.
After Athletic scored in the 90th minute to seal a 2-2 draw and force extra time, Williams netted the title-clinching goal with a neat curling shot from just inside the area, with the ball hitting the far post before going into the top corner.