Here's something you shouldn't say to a referee or his assistants during a game of soccer: "La concha de tu madre." Don't believe me? Lionel Messi, the greatest soccer player to ever walk this earth, said it (allegedly) to Marcelo Van Gasse, a linesman who was officiating Argentina's World Cup qualifier against Chile last Thursday. Messi then apparently refused to shake Van Gasse's hand.
For his trouble, FIFA handed Messi a four-match suspension and a fine on Tuesday.
What was the little fellow so angry about? Well, evidently Messi was not impressed with the way Van Gasse called the game. What specifically Messi disliked is not entirely clear. Argentina won 1-0 thanks to a spot kick Messi converted after Angel di Maria earned a penalty (emphasis on earned).
Argentina will be without their captain for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Bolivia, Uruguay, Venezuela, and Peru, in that order. With the exception of Uruguay, the matches should be easy wins for Argentina, even without Messi. But nothing is guaranteed.
Messi's suspension comes at a weird time for Argentina. Prior to the match, the press had been wondering whether the team relied too much on Messi. After the match, Argentina coach Edgardo Bauza announced that he did "not think [the team] is Messi-dependent."
I guess we'll see.