Football: 4-match international ban for Lionel Messi after referee rant

ZURICH (REUTERS) - Argentina forward Lionel Messi has been banned from their next four competitive internationals starting with the World Cup qualifier away to Bolivia, Fifa said on Tuesday.

The world football's governing body said Messi had "directed insulting words at an assistant referee" during the 1-0 win over Chile on Friday.

After the game in La Paz, FIFA said the "remainder of the sanction will be served over Argentina's subsequent World Cup qualifying matches".

An Argentinian football official gave indication that the team will appeal the decision and said Messi was "beaten and sad" over the ruling.