Lionel Messi News: Mbappe handed 3-match ban, effectively handing over European Golden Boot to Messi
What's the story?
As per the French Football Federation, Paris Saint Germain's Kylian Mbappe has been awarded a 3 match ban following his red card against Rennes, last Sunday in the French Cup final. This effectively means that Barcelona talisman Lionel Messi will get a clear path to the European Golden Boot title this season.
In case you didn't know...
Paris Saint Germain were upset by Rennes in last Sunday's French Cup final, losing on penalties to the side that finished 11th in the Ligue 1. Although Thomas Tuchel's men easily won the Ligue 1 title, their ouster from the Champions League, and now this French Cup debacle, puts immense pressure on Neymar and co to deliver next season. Kylian Mbappe has shouldered the goalscoring burden in the long injury absence of star man Neymar, netting 30 goals in Ligue 1.
Ernesto Valverde's Barcelona, on the other hand, is well on course for a historic treble of trebles. They wrapped up the La Liga title last weekend with a 1-0 win over Levante, and have also reached the final of the Copa del Rey. Lionel Messi hit the headlines again in midweek, netting a sensational brace as Barcelona steamrolled Liverpool 3-0 in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League semi-finals.
The heart of the matter
With the game evenly poised at 2-2, Mbappe was given a straight red card in the 118th minute, for a rash challenge on Rennes defender Damien da Silva.
PSG went on to lost the penalty shootout 6-5 to miss out on a domestic double. Mbappe apparently caught his opponent on the knee with his studs showing and was given his marching orders immediately. In their verdict on the ban, the French Football Federation noted,
"“Meeting on Thursday, May 2, 2019, the Federal Commission of Discipline, following the final of the Coupe de France between Stade Rennais and Paris-Saint-Germain, Saturday, April 27 at the Stade de France, sanctioned Kylian Mbappe with a three-game suspension”
Lionel Messi leads the European Golden Boot race with 34 goals (68 points), followed by Kylian Mbappe with 30 goals (60 points) and Atalanta's Fabio Quagliarella with 23 goals (46 points).
Cristiano Ronaldo is a distant 12th in the standings with only 20 goals (40 points). With Mbappe 3-match ban covering most of the 4 games left for PSG in Ligue 1, Messi looks poised to finish with his 6th European Golden Boot of his career.
Having wrapped up the La Liga title last weekend, Ernesto Valverde's is likely to rest Messi for Sunday's away trip to Celta Vigo. The Blaugrana head to Anfield to face Liverpool in the second leg of the UEFA Champions League semifinal, with the kickoff scheduled for Wednesday, 12:30 AM IST.