Lionel Messi and Barcelona have been fined a combined 780 euros after the player was shown a yellow card for lifting his shirt to pay tribute to the late Diego Maradona following his goal in Sunday’s 4-0 win over Osasuna. Messi, who was fined 600 euros while his club were fined 180, paid homage to his late compatriot by taking off his Barca shirt to reveal a Newell’s Old Boys shirt belonging to Maradona, a gesture that was praised around the world.
Yet the Spanish soccer federation’s competition committee showed little sympathy when upholding the rules, rejecting Barca’s protests against the punishment and their suggestion it should be waived as the gesture was a tribute to Maradona. The committee’s statement said that while it accepted the gesture was a tribute, article 93 of the disciplinary code states that a player should be punished for removing their shirt when celebrating, irrespective of the motive.
The statement added that Messi could only have had the sanction waived if he had been given the booking in error. Messi supports Newell’s Old Boys and played for the club’s junior team before leaving for Barca aged 13. He had also paid tribute to Maradona, who played for the Rosario side in 1993, when the World Cup winner died last Wednesday. “He has left us but he isn’t going anywhere because Diego is eternal,” Messi wrote on Instagram.
Messi tribute to Maradona
In most matches that took place on Wednesday, as soon as the news was announced that Diego Maradona had died, the players stood in silence for one minute and the giant screen flashed the picture of Diego Maradona.
FC Barcelona also paid tribute to Diego Maradona, for he had made his name there in the mid-80s when he was picked for a record price of USD 7.6 million. Diego Maradona reserved his best for Barcelona in their El Clasico encounter against Real Madrid. After his stint with Barcelona, he was picked by Napoli for a record sum and his presentation saw 75000 people in attendance as he changed the fortunes of Napoli totally.
In his international career with Argentina, Maradona earned 91 caps and scored 34 goals. Maradona played in four FIFA World Cups, including the 1986 World Cup in Mexico where he captained Argentina and led them to victory over West Germany in the final, and won the Golden Ball as the tournament’s best player.