Barcelona have expressed their ‘surprise and indignation’ at FIFA’s decision to ban Lionel Messi for four international matches after insulting an official.
FIFA said the Argentina captain was guilty of "having directed insulting words at an assistant referee," but his club have side have come out to praise his ‘exemplary’ conduct ‘both on and off the pitch’.
"FC Barcelona expresses its surprise and indignation at the action by the FIFA Disciplinary Committee by suspending the player Leo Messi following the FIFA World Cup qualifying fixture between Argentina and Chile,” read a club statement.
"The club considers the four-match suspension finally imposed on the Argentine player to be unfair and totally disproportionate.
"Finally, FC Barcelona wishes to reiterate its support for Leo Messi, an exemplary player in terms of conduct both on and off the pitch."
Messi missed his side’s 2-0 defeat at Bolivia on Tuesday night, a loss which see’s Argentina slip to 5th in the standings, and will also be unavailable for their next three matches.