​Barcelona star Lionel Messi has been slapped with a three-month ban from international football, following comments he made claiming that the Copa América was being ruined by corruption within the South American Football Confederation.

The 32-year-old was left fuming after picking up an innocuous red card during Argentina's third-place play-off match against Chile, the latest in a long line of incidents which Messi felt went against him throughout the tournament.

"We don't have to be part of this corruption," Messi said at the time. "They have shown us a lack of respect throughout this tournament. Sadly, the corruption, the referees, they don't allow people to enjoy football, they ruined it a bit."


Following a review from the South American Football Confederation - more populary known as Conmebol - the BBC has confirmed that Messi will be forced to serve a three-month ban from international football due to his comments.

That means that the 32-year-old will be unavailable when Argentina take on Chile in a friendly match just a few games into the new season, while he'll also be out of matches against Gold Cup winners Mexico and European giants Germany.

Messi has seven days to appeal his suspension, while the Barcelona star will also be slapped with a $50,000 fine on top of his three-month playing ban.

With Messi only set to miss a handful of friendly matches it's unlikely that the Barcelona star or the decision-makers with La Albiceleste will be moving heaven and earth to get his ban overturned.

The 32-year-old still has three more friendly matches with Barcelona before the start of the new La Liga season too, with the Catalan side set to host Arsenal and S.S.C. Napoli either side of a trip to Naples.