If you’re familiar with soccer, you will know that getting a red card is a bad thing, and definitely something to avoid.
Getting a red card means you’ve used excessive force or have broken a serious rule, and you essentially get dismissed from the game.
Plus, no other player is allowed to take your place on the field, so the team has to continue on with one less player. Definitely a bad thing!
Nevertheless, it’s almost impossible to go through a soccer career without getting a few red cards, it’s just part of the game, and it can happen to anyone. Besides, the more games you play, the more chances you have of having received a red card.
Messi is one of the best soccer players in the world and has played a pretty impressive amount of games. So how many red cards has he received?
Well, Messi has received a grand total of three red cards. We know, we know, only 3 red cards? But it’s the truth! Messi only has 3 red cards, which is probably a good sign of him being a very good player that avoids troublesome maneuvers.
It’s no surprise, as Messi is often considered to be a very calm player that doesn’t really get into any trouble during soccer games.
As he only has three red cards, we can probably look into them more in-depth! Plus, you might want to understand what a red card actually entails, so let’s get right into that!
What is a red card in soccer?
Amongst other game mechanics, the referee, who is the maximum authority during a soccer game, can also present the players with two different cards, depending on what they’ve done wrong: a yellow card, and the dreaded red card.
If a player is shown a red card by the referee, it means that they’ve committed an action or offense that is very serious. So serious, that the player is dismissed from the game and forbidden from entering it again.
As the player is dismissed from the game entirely, it also means that the team can’t switch to another player. Instead, the team is forced to keep playing with one player less, which is an obvious disadvantage.
Basically, getting a red card is bad. Like really bad. And something that all players want to avoid. Especially because it also damages their reliability and reputation as professional soccer players!
How can you get a red card?
Despite players trying to avoid ever getting a red card, it’s practically impossible to go through an entire soccer career without getting a few of them.
Some games can get pretty intense, with emotions running high, and sometimes a player might use excessive force or commit an offense by accident or without realizing!
Other times, however, it is 100% foul play, and the player completely deserves to be removed for the remaining time of game play.
Let’s take a look at how players might get a red card:
Getting two yellow cards:
Getting a yellow card is sort of like getting a warning, and it is used to signal a minor offense. However, if you get a second yellow card, you are then immediately shown a red card. Why?
Well, because in soccer, two yellow cards equal a red, as if they add on to each other to form a serious offense. So basically, one of the ways to get a red card, is to get a second yellow card during the same game.
Committing an offense:
This is the most common way of getting a red card, and the main. Committing a serious offense will instantly get you a red card and get you dismissed from the game.
But what constitutes an offense worthy of a red card? It can seem like quite a vague concept, so let’s take a look at more specific actions that will almost certainly be seen as a serious offense.
Although above all, you have to remember that it’s up to the referee. Sometimes, a red card can seem unjust or unwarranted, while other times a red card might seem obvious but is not shown.
But the thing is, it’s completely up to the referee and what the referee sees and considers.
But back to the serious offenses, here are a few examples of things that are very likely to give you a red card:
- Using offensive language or gestures!
- Violent conduct!
- Foul play!
- Biting, spitting at someone, or similar!
- Handball offense!
- Anything else that the referee deems a serious offense!
It might seem like getting a red card is hard or unlikely, but the truth is, soccer games stir up a lot of emotions and the players are usually very passionate about wanting to win. Arguments happen quite often and can sometimes even end up in fights, so red cards are sadly quite common!
How did Messi get his red cards?
We promised you a more in depth look to Messi’s three red cards, so let’s examine each one of them and how he got them:
Red Card 1:
The first card Messi ever received was during his first ever time playing for the national Argentina soccer team. It happened on August the 15th, in 2005, during the game of Argentina vs Hungary, which is a game that took place in Hungary.
Messi was only 18 years old back then, but luckily, it was a friendly game instead of a proper competitive one!
He was shown the red card for swinging his elbow back and hitting another player in the face. However, this happened because the other player had Messi in a foul play grip.
Messi stated that it wasn’t his intention to hit the player in the face, and that he was simply trying to break free, which makes sense. But if the referee considers something to be red card worthy, then a red card is what you’re getting!
Red Card 2:
The second red card that Messi received throughout his soccer career, took place 14 whole years after the first one.
It’s pretty impressive that Messi managed to go 14 entire years without a red card, and that in itself proves how good of a player he is in regards to playing fair!
This red card was received during the Argentina vs Chile game, during the 2019 Copa America soccer tournament. This is actually a really controversial red card, as many people feel like Messi did not deserve it whatsoever, but again, the referee’s decision is sadly final.
What happened is that a player from the opposing team came up to him, clearly agitated, stating that he had been pushed by Messi. The other player knocked into Messi in an attempt to start a fight, with Messi remaining in control and unreactive.
Nevertheless, the referee awarded them both with a red card. It seems pretty unfair right? This is why so many people were angry at the referee.
Red Card 3:
The last red card that Messi has received so far (his soccer career is ongoing, so who knows if he might get another at some point!), took place in january of 2021, while Messi was playing for the Barcelona soccer team.
It was during the Spanish Super Cup Final, in which Barcelona was playing the Athletic Bilbao soccer team.
Messi swung his arm during gameplay and accidentally hit another player, who then fell to the ground. The referee had to review the footage during his decision, but ultimately awarded Messi with a red card to dismiss him from the game.
All in all, it’s pretty incredible for such a famous soccer player, who has played in such a huge amount of soccer games, to have only received 3 red cards.
And on top of that, two of those three cards are widely considered to be very unjust and unwarranted, with the third being accidental contact with another player. So really...many people feel as though Messi shouldn’t have any red cards at all! What do you think?
There’s plenty of videos on YouTube and official reports that you can look up for more evidence if you want to do some digging yourself!
How has Messi avoided getting a higher number of red cards?
The question that arises now, after looking at Messi’s red cards, is: how has he avoided getting a higher number of red cards? Why doesn’t Messi get red cards?
It’s obviously due to his style of playing and his calm and controlled behaviour on the team, making him a reliable and excellent team player.
However, there is also another factor: Messi plays offense.
It might not seem like a big deal, but Messi’s biggest job on the field is to score goals and attack the opposing team. Usually, it’s a lot easier for defense players to get red cards, because they’re the ones tackling players and trying to block the opposing advances.
Meaning, the position Messi plays makes it easier for him to avoid situations in which he would be more likely to get a red card. Although we can’t possibly know for sure!
Throughout Messi’s entire soccer career up to date, he has only ever received a total of 3 red cards.
Two of them were rather controversial, as most people believed them to be unjust and unwarranted, with a third being more of an accident.
Overall, Messi has a great reputation for being a calm player, reliable and controlled on the field, with little chance of getting in trouble with the referee.