Cristiano Ronaldo picked up the inaugural ‘The Best’ award on Monday at the ceremony in Zurich to round off his perfect 2016.
While there were plenty of his colleagues in attendance to see him pick up the award, there weren’t any Barcelona players.
On the day of the ceremony, the players decided not to travel to Switzerland in order to prepare for their Copa del Rey match against Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday. Incidentally, the previous evening, Luis Enrique’s side could only draw against Villarreal in a match they were furious with the officials as they dropped even more points in the title race.
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Despite the match against Bilbao being, undoubtedly, massive for Barca - having lost 2-1 in the first-leg - the excuse given by the club wasn’t really believed by anyone.
One of those Barca players that wasn’t in attendance was Luis Suarez. The striker also missed last year’s Ballon d’Or award gala - when FIFA was still the organiser.
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Suarez vs FIFA
And it’s no coincidence that Suarez has missed the award ceremony in the previous two years.
That’s because, according to Spanish outlet Sport, Suarez is refusing to attend FIFA’s gala's because he’s still angry with the ban he received after biting Giorgio Chiellini during the 2014 World Cup.
Suarez was given a nine-match international suspension and a four-month ban from all football activities, delaying his Barcelona debut until October, after he was found guilty of biting the Italian defender.
Suarez phoned FIFA
And it certainly wasn’t because of the upcoming Bilbao match that Suarez didn’t travel to Zurich on Monday. It’s reported that he told the organisation last week to inform them that he won’t be attending, regardless of what his teammates were doing.
Despite his absence, Suarez was named in FIFA’s World XI alongside teammate Lionel Messi and Ronaldo, ahead of Antoine Griezmann. However, it seems unlikely that being selected in that line-up will do anything for the relationship between Suarez and FIFA.
This report regarding Suarez’s absence comes after it was claimed that Messi didn’t want to attend ‘The Best’ award ceremony because he didn’t want to play second-fiddle to Ronaldo again.
With Messi coming runner-up behind Ronaldo in the Ballon d’Or voting in December, the Daily Mail claimed that the Barcelona superstar gave it a miss because he didn’t want to sit and watch his rival collect yet another award.
Ronaldo didn’t appear to care, though, as he seemed to mock Barcelona for the situation they currently find themselves in.
“I’m just very happy. I'm sorry some people from Barcelona aren't here, but that's understandable,” he said during his acceptance speech.