Thursday, 25 Jul 2024

The Red Cards of Lionel Messi: A Closer Look at His Disciplinary Record

Lionel Messi, renowned as one of the greatest soccer players of all time, is known for his exceptional skills and composed demeanor on the field. However, there is a lesser-known aspect of Messi’s career that piques curiosity—his red cards. In this article, we will delve into the number, timing, and circumstances surrounding Messi’s three red cards throughout his professional career.

Throughout his illustrious career, Messi has only received three red cards. These rare occurrences are significant considering his otherwise clean disciplinary record. Let’s take a closer look at each incident and analyze whether they were warranted.

Messi’s First Red Card

Messi’s first red card came early in his career, during his debut game for Argentina on August 15, 2005. Merely 18 years old at the time, Messi was eager to showcase his talent. However, just two minutes after stepping onto the field as a substitute, he was shown a red card. The referee deemed that Messi had swung his elbow at an opposing player after being fouled. Controversy remains around this incident, as Messi claimed he was merely trying to free himself from his opponent’s grip.

Messi's first red card

Messi’s Second Red Card

Tham Khảo Thêm:  The Most Successful Footballers in Premier League History

Fourteen years after his first red card, Messi received his second during the 2019 Copa America tournament. In a tense match between Argentina and Chile, Messi was involved in a heated exchange with Gary Medel. Despite Messi’s lack of clear aggression, both players were shown red cards after the referee reviewed the incident. Messi received a $1500 fine and a one-game suspension as a consequence.

Messi's second red card

Messi’s Third Red Card: First for Barcelona

Messi’s third and most recent red card occurred in January 2021 during the Spanish Super Cup final, marking his first red card while playing for Barcelona. In the 120th minute of extra time, Messi swung his arm and made contact with Asier Villalibre, who had challenged him for the ball. The incident was detected by VAR, leading to Messi’s expulsion from the game.

Messi's third red card

Messi’s Discipline and Playing Style

Messi’s playing style, characterized by his attacking prowess and focus on ball possession, greatly reduces the likelihood of him committing fouls or receiving disciplinary action. His disciplined approach to the game has contributed to his relatively low number of cards throughout his career.

Messi’s Yellow Card Record

While Messi has only received three red cards, he has accumulated 90 yellow cards throughout his career. Of these, 81 were received during his time with Barcelona, eight with the Argentina national team, and one with French club PSG. Considering the number of games he has played, this remains a relatively low amount.

Messi vs. Ronaldo: Red and Yellow Card Comparison

When comparing Messi’s disciplinary record to his longtime rival, Cristiano Ronaldo, it is evident that Messi has a far better track record. Ronaldo has received 128 yellow cards and 11 red cards throughout his career, surpassing Messi in both categories.

Tham Khảo Thêm:  The Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Successful Soccer Fullback


Q: How many red cards has Lionel Messi received?
A: Messi has received three red cards throughout his career.

Q: When and why did Messi receive his first red card?
A: Messi received his first red card during his debut game for Argentina on August 15, 2005. The red card was shown after Messi swung his elbow at an opponent following a foul.

Q: How many yellow cards has Messi received?
A: Messi has received a total of 90 yellow cards during his career.

Q: How does Messi’s disciplinary record compare to Ronaldo’s?
A: Messi has a significantly better disciplinary record than Cristiano Ronaldo, with 90 yellow and three red cards compared to Ronaldo’s 128 yellow and 11 red cards.


Lionel Messi’s disciplinary record is a testament to his composed and disciplined approach to the game. Despite his global fame and immense talent, Messi has managed to avoid extensive disciplinary action throughout his career. While he has received three red cards and 90 yellow cards, these numbers are relatively low considering the number of games he has played. Messi’s focus on attacking play and ball possession have undoubtedly contributed to his clean disciplinary record.

So, the next time you watch Messi work his magic on the field, remember that behind his astonishing skill lies a self-controlled and disciplined player who has largely avoided the red side of the game.

Visit Pesstatsdatabase for more football insights