Barcelona/ Argentina star player Lionel Messi last night together with teammates Luis Suarez, Neymar and Gerard Pique snubbed the FIFA Best Awards ceremony in Zurich, with his club announcing hours before the ceremony that the players couldn’t come because the team had to prepare for an ‘important’ second leg game against Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday.
But football legends Diego Maradona, who once coached Messi with Argentina, and Roberto Carlos, former Real Madrid and Brazil player, and Roberto Salgado slammed Messi for snubbing the awards, saying the Barcelona man and his teammates should have shown more respect to FIFA.
Roberto Carlos, said to reporters: “I am sad and disappointed that Leo and his teammates have not come. They have many great footballers and all of us would have liked to see them attend.
“We all wanted to see Messi, the other big players and the coach of Barcelona here. It’s a FIFA prize. FIFA is the highest authority in football. So, everyone should be here.”
Diego Maradona said: “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.”
Roberto Carlos said Ronaldo has previously appeared at award ceremonies even when he knew he’ll lose, urging Messi to learn from Ronaldo.
“Cristiano has learned the importance of this and I think Leo also needs to learn that he must be here. This has to change,” he said.
“Real Madrid also have a match this week but they are well represented in Zurich. The obligations to win for both clubs are the same.”
Former Madrid right-back Salgado said:”Real Madrid are currently the best team in the world so maybe this has affected the decision of the Barcelona players,” Salgado said. “Barcelona are wrong for not sending their best players.
“I know that the club has had issues with FIFA in the past but Barcelona needs to understand that FIFA is changing. This is not how you expect one of the world’s biggest clubs to behave.”