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Opinion: The only surprise with Messi’s red card is that it took over 700 Barcelona games to arrive

So much has been made of Lionel Messi’s first-ever red card for Barcelona that you’d think he’d committed one of the worst acts ever seen on a football pitch.

Clearly, his reaction to yet another challenge where the defender’s intention was to injure him was over the top, and he absolutely deserved to be given his marching orders.

However, the subsequent pile-on has been totally unnecessary.

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Let’s remember that the Argentinian has been targeted by various hatchet men for a decade and a half now, over 700 Barca games, and has, in the main, been calmness personified.

He’s allowed his boots to do the talking, often punishing his transgressors with a beautifully taken free-kick from the point of the infraction.

This time, no doubt frustrated by the knowledge that another trophy had slipped from his grasp, Messi took umbrage.

It felt as if all of those years of pent up anger were released in that one moment.

Far from glorifying the act, it is still important to retain a modicum of common sense. No other player in the modern era has taken such a battering on a weekly basis and rose above it in the way Messi has.

For once, he let everyone know he’s human, and he’s not putting up with being targeted anymore.

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