Leo Messi’s cousin got an even wilder red card after promotion in Brazil


Sunday was an eventful day for the extended Messi family. As Lionel lost the Spanish Super Cup in Seville, getting sent off for a right hook that Iron Mike would have been proud of, his cousin Emanuel Biancucchi was having an even wilder time in Itu, Brazil.

Both Emanuel and his brother Maxi, despite being a good deal less talented than their illustrious relation, have managed to carve out half-decent careers for themselves.

Let’s face it, just being able to drop that name would convince most teams to give you a chance, and the pair have managed to flit between clubs in their native Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay.

Emanuel is now 32 and currently enjoying a late-career spell in the Brazilian third tier with Vila Nova, a team from Goiania, the capital of Goias state.

It is a long way from the glitz and glamour of the Champions League, but it has been going pretty well.

Vila Nova qualified from the first phase to the promotion round of Serie C and, having won two, drawn one and lost two of their first five games, travelled to play Ituano – the club that gave the world Juninho Paulista and Gabriel Martinelli – on Sunday knowing that a win would guarantee them a place in next season’s Serie B.

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WATCH: Lionel Messi is sent off for first time in Barca career after lashing out

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Biancucchi, a left-footed attacking midfielder (obviously) started on the bench but was clearly raring to get on.

Introduced with 20 minutes to go, with the game tight and the scores still level at 0-0, Biancucchi was booked for an overly enthusiastic challenge four minutes later.

A minute after that, he broke forward, received a beautifully weighted pass from fellow substitute Caique and, first time, side-footed a delightful finish into the top corner of Jose Pegorari’s net.

It proved the difference between the sides and the goal that sealed Vila Nova’s promotion.

Yet in his delirium, Biancucchi must have momentarily forgotten the yellow he had been shown moments prior. As he wheeled away, he whipped off his shirt and gave it one twirl around his head before he realised what he’d done. Whoops.

A second yellow was duly brandished and Biancucchi sent for an early bath. No matter, his team-mates held on for the result. Next week they will play Remo in the first leg of the title decider.

After the game, Biancucchi told DAZN Brasil: “I don’t even know what I’m feeling. This group deserved promotion. The goal is for my wife, who is pregnant with twins.”

Well at least it was a happy weekend for one part of the Messi clan.

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