On Monday, Barcelona took a huge risk by flirting with the idea of captain Lionel Messi being suspended for the El Clasico next weekend.

He had already received a yellow card in their previous match and had to be cautious not to receive another against Real Valladolid. He escaped with his life, but not before arguing that the referee was out to show him a card.

This weekend, Barcelona will face Real Madrid in a match that could decide the LaLiga champions for this season. If he had received a yellow card, the Argentine would have been ruled out, and according to Marca, he was overheard saying that referee Santiago Jaime Latre was trying to find a way to book him.

“The referee wants to give me a yellow card, incredible,” Messi reportedly told club delegate Carles Naval during the half-time break.

Fortunately for him, the card never came. Real Valladolid, on the other side, was reduced to ten players in the second half after Oscar Plano was handed a straight red card. In the dramatic final minute of regulation time, Barcelona scored a late winner by Ousmane Dembele.

Both teams had other opportunities, and Valladolid would be disappointed after Jordi Alba’s obvious handball in the 65th minute. The Catalans were awarded all three points despite no penalty being given.

Barcelona is now just one point behind Atletico Madrid at the top of the table after the win. They now have a match against Real Madrid, who are just two points behind them.

They have a shot to win the title if they win El Clasico and then defeat Atletico Madrid next month.

That is, if they do not lose any more points for the remainder of the season. A LaLiga title will undoubtedly improve their chances of persuading Lionel Messi to stay, and this will be on the minds of both players and club management in the coming weeks.


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