ZURICH (AP) Lionel Messi has been banned from Argentina's next four World Cup qualifiers, starting with Tuesday's game in Bolivia.
FIFA says Messi was banned for verbally abusing an assistant referee during a home qualifier against Chile on Thursday.
FIFA intervened when the incident was not initially reported by the Brazilian referee after Argentina's 1-0 win at Monumental Stadium in Buenos Aires.
It was judged a red-card offense for Messi, who scored the only goal from a first-half penalty.
Television pictures showed Messi reacting angrily late in the game when the assistant flagged him for a foul. He waved his arms and shouted profane insults at the Brazilian official.
After the game, Messi refused to shake hands with the assistant who had annoyed him.
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