‘Messi fanboy’ World Cup ref frozen out of La Liga after dishing out 18 cards

Antonio Mateu Lahoz has been omitted from La Liga action having shown 18 cards during Barcelona's clash against Espanyol – having previously shown another 18 during a World Cup tie.

The card-happy referee brandished 16 yellows and two reds during Barcelona's 1-1 draw with their local rivals in which Jordi Alba and Vinicius Souza were dismissed.

He later sent Sevilla manager Jorge Sampaoli off after 18 minutes during their 5-0 Copa del Rey win over Linares having hit the headlines for the wrong reasons in Qatar.

READ MORE: World Cup ref sent home after 'fanboying Messi' sends off Sevilla manager inside 17 mins

That came after he showed a total of 18 cards during Argentina's World Cup quarter-final win over the Netherlands and was also accused of fanboying Lionel Messi before being sent home with no further fixtures.

Following the fresh controversy surrounding the veteran Spanish ref he will not be taking charge of a top-flight domestic fixture as announced by the Spanish Football Federation.

The decision comes after Emiliano Martinez and Messi lashed out at his World Cup performance despite them winning on penalties in the aforementioned fixture and going on to win the final.

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Messi had said after the fixture: "I don’t want to speak about referees because after they will sanction you. But people saw what happened..

"I think FIFA must take care of this, it cannot put a referee like that for a match of such magnitude, of such importance.

"The referee cannot fail to be up to the task."

Lahoz was P.E teacher before becoming a football referee, recently admitting that he could move back into that professional when his current role comes to an end.

He said back in 2021 having been selected to officiate the Champions League final between Chelsea and Manchester City: "It’s magical. Honestly, I never really imagined that, one day, I would referee a Champions League final."

Concluding: "Refereeing is happiness for me. And I think the key to being a referee is to always be yourself."


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