The entire Barcelona squad has been criticized by several prominent figures in the world for not attending the FIFA awards gala in Zurich on Monday evening.
Lionel Messi, who was named on the three-man shortlist for FIFA Men’s Player Award, was not in attendance, while Luis Suarez, Neymar and Gerard Pique were also conspicuous in their absence – All four players were named in the FIFA Team of the Year.
However, the Blaugrana contacted FIFA hours before the ceremony to announce they would not be attending due to their clash with Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday.
Former Brazil international Roberto Carlos does not accept Barcelona’s reason for their absence, though, telling 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, also expressed his disappointment at Messi’s decision not to attend the event.
“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.
Michel Salgado, meanwhile, echoed the sentiments of his former team-mate, saying: “Real Madrid are currently the best team in the world so maybe this has affected the decision of the Barcelona players.
“Barcelona are wrong for not sending their best players.