Cristiano Ronaldo couldn’t leave Barcelona out of his acceptance speech as he was crowned Best FIFA Player of the Year on Monday.
The Portuguese, who also won the 2016 Ballon d’Or ahead of arch-rival Lionel Messi in December, was recognized for an exceptional 2016 at a ceremony in Zurich.
However, the absence of Messi and the rest of the Barcelona contingent from the gala was keenly noted by everyone, including Ronaldo.
This is despite the fact that the Argentine had come second in the voting for Men’s best player, and that he and a number of his Barca teammates had won places in this last year’s FIFA FIFPRO World XI.
Messi and co. absent as FIFPRO World XI is named | 09/01/17
Barcelona gave an explanation, though rather dubious, as to why they did not send their players to Zurich.
“With the aim of prioritising the match against Athletic on Wednesday, the club has decided not to send the players to the gala for The Best organised by FIFA this afternoon,” the Catalans wrote on their website on Monday morning.
But it was an explanation not accepted by many, including football greats such as Roberto Carlos and Diego Maradona.
“It’s a little strange and it’s sad that Barcelona are not here at a gala of this importance,” said Carlos.
“The most fun thing at an event like this one is to see the players. Of course I wanted to see Messi, Barcelona’s coach too. They have to change this idea… this is a FIFA award and they are the biggest organisation in football.”
To ensure the message got to Messi and Barcelona, Ronaldo aimed a dig at them right at the end of his victory speech. Listen around minute 2:30 of the video below.
Ronaldo trolls Barcelona during FIFA Ceremony | 09/01/17
“I would like thank very warmly all those that voted for me, the fans, the captains and the media. Thank you,” he said.
“I don’t really have anything to add, awards speak for themselves. I’m really, really happy.
“I’m sorry that some people from Barcelona aren’t here with us and that’s understandable but thank you to everyone. Thank you for what you’ve given me.”