JUST IN: Barcelona captain Lionel Messi escapes long ban 
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JUST IN: Barcelona captain Lionel Messi escapes long ban 

Barcelona captain Lionel Messi has escaped a long ban for hitting an opponent during his side's Spanish Super Cup final against Athletic Bilbao. 

Messi was facing a possible up to 12 matches ban after hitting Bilbao player with his arm during Barcelona's 3-2 loss in the Super Cup final. And now the Argentine has been suspended for the next two matches after the Catalans appealed against the decision. 

Messi's off-the-ball incident has been deemed not severe by the federation's competition hence facing a less severe penalty. The club's captain swung his right arm at the head of Asier Villalibre as they ran towards the box. Messi was shown a straight red after a video review, marking his first red card in 753 appearances for Barcelona.

Referee Gil Manzano said in his match report that Messi hit his opponent with excessive force while the ball was not near him.

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