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Lionel Messi walks away from horror tackle by Luis Adrian Martinez in Argentina win over Venezuela

Lionel Messi walks away from horror tackle by Luis Adrian Martinez in Argentina win over Venezuela

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Lionel Messi was fortunate to walk away from a horror challenge by Luis Adrian Martinez which earned the Venezuelan a straight red card in Argentina’s 3-1 win in World Cup qualifying.

Fresh from making his debut for new club Paris Saint Germain, Messi travelled to South America for World Cup duty with Argentina.

The Copa America winners enjoyed a routine 3-1 win, but the talking point in the game was a challenge on Messi which has been described as a ‘career-ending tackle’ and a ‘leg-breaker’.

Even at 34, Messi has quicksilver feet – and they were a blessing and a curse on Thursday evening.

He collected a pass and attempted to skip past Martinez, who lunged for the ball but was undone by Messi’s pace and caught his standing leg.

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It was fortunate for Messi that he was able to angle his body to avoid the full impact – which does not bear thinking about.

Referee Leodan Frankin Gonzalez Cabrera immediately pulled out a red card, as Messi writhed in agony.

There was pushing and shoving among the players, as Messi received treatment on the floor.

As replays filtered out around the world, there were serious fears for Messi as his left leg appeared to buckle under the force of the challenge.

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But thankfully for his legion of fans, and supporters of football as a whole, Messi was able to pick himself up and play the entire 90 minutes.

As one Twitter user said, he must be made of rubber.

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