Lionel Messi has asserted his innocence in a letter to FIFA after being hit with a four-match international ban, saying he was yelling "to the air" and not verbally abusing a match official.

Barcelona star Messi was dealt the suspension and a fine of 10,000 Swiss francs ($10,160) by FIFA's disciplinary panel following his actions in Argentina's World Cup qualifier against Chile last week. He is due to miss three more of Argentina's remaining four World Cup qualifiers after sitting out the 2-0 defeat against Bolivia on Tuesday.

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