Maradona slams Messi absence at FIFA gala
Diego Maradona was disappointed that Lionel Messi and Barcelona opted not to travel to Zurich for the 2016 The Best FIFA Football Awards ceremony.
Messi, nominated for The Best FIFA Men’s Player prize, had been expected to travel with Barca team-mates Luis Suarez, Neymar and Gerard Pique.
However, the club announced on Monday that none of their players would attend the gala in Switzerland due to the Copa del Rey match against Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday.
The Argentina international was beaten to the accolade by Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo, and Maradona was frustrated his compatriot was not present.
“I’m disappointed with Messi, from watching television at home you cannot fight anything or anyone – here you can fight,” he told TVE.
“I do not know why Barcelona did not come to such an important event. They have priorities and the priority was for Leo not to come. I think coming here [Zurich] they could fight more than they would in Barcelona.”
Upon receiving his award, Ronaldo said he was “sorry” that the Barca players were not in attendance but that it was “understandable”.