Diego Maradona admits he has been left 'disappointed' by Barcelona's Lionel Messi

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Lionel Messi and his Barcelona teammates were absent from the FIFA awards held in Zurich on Monday night, with the club's Copa del Rey semi-final second leg tie against Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday.

The Catalan giants faced travelling to and from Switzerland with just 48 hours to spare, had they attended the awards which saw Cristiano Ronaldo and Claudio Ranieri named FIFA's best player and manager respectively.

Ultimately, the reigning La Liga champions already were well informed that their star player was almost certain to miss out on the FIFA Best Men's Player award to his Real Madrid rival.


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However, while it seemed to make logical sense that the Barcelona squad didn't travel to the award ceremonies - given their crucial Copa del Rey game in midweek - former Argentina international Diego Maradona has criticised the 29-year-old's absence.

"I'm disappointed with Messi, from watching television at home you cannot fight anything or anyone – here you can fight," said Maradona, as per the Mirror.

"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."

Ronaldo's Messi dig

And Ronaldo, who also made a subtle dig at the Argentine and his club's absence, said: "I'm just very happy. I'm sorry some people from Barcelona aren't here, but that's understandable."

Ultimately, though, Messi and Antoine Griezmann - Ronaldo's biggest challengers for the award - were still some way off catching the Portugal international, who enjoyed an incredible 2016 at both club and international level.

That is something which Messi failed with last year, after missing a penalty in the Copa America final loss against Chile, for the second year running. And his status as the Albiceleste's best player of all time has come under scrutiny.

International woes

Maradona, who attended the awards ceremony, won the World Cup with Argentina during his career, while Messi has yet to have success on the international stage. Although, he will be looking to claim further silverware at club level.

The Argentine and his Blaugrana teammates will have to come from behind in their second leg tie at the Camp Nou after Bilbao claimed the advantage by taking a 2-1 lead.

But with the final awaiting the winner, Barcelona's quality and home advantage, many expect, will see them reach the final. And Messi will hope to progress in order to prove to Maradona that it was worth him and his teammates staying at home on Monday night.

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La Liga
Diego Maradona
Luis Enrique
Argentina Football
Luis Suarez

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