Barca criticised for awards snub

Real Madrid legends Roberto Carlos and Michel Salgado, along with Diego Maradona, blasted Barcelona players for not attending the Best FIFA awards ceremony.

Barca quarter Lionel Messi, Luis Suraez, Neymar and Gerard Pique – all selected in the Team of the Year – snubbed the opportunity to show up, with the club announcing hours before the ceremony that the players would instead be preparing for their Copa Del Rey clash with Athletic Bilbao two days later.

As he made his way into the awards ceremony, former Madrid full-back Roberto Carlos said: "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."

Salgado, who played on the opposite side of Madrid’s defence to Carlos during the early 2000s, suggested the Blaugrana players did not attend due to recent results.

"Real Madrid are currently the best team in the world so maybe this has affected the decision of the Barcelona players," Salgado concluded.

"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."

It was not only Madrid players who criticised the decision of the players not to attend, with former former Argentina and Barcelona star Diego Maradona also hitting out.

"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 they could fight more than they would in Barcelona."