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The Financial Express

Lionel Messi, Barcelona fined for Diego Maradona shirt tribute

| Updated: December 04, 2020 19:19:05


Evaly and Fianancial Express Evaly and Fianancial Express
FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates scoring their fourth goal wearing a Newell's Old Boys shirt in reference to former player Diego Maradona  — Reuters/Files FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates scoring their fourth goal wearing a Newell's Old Boys shirt in reference to former player Diego Maradona — Reuters/Files

Lionel Messi and Barcelona have been fined a combined 780 euros (945 US dollars) 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 football 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.

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