Lionel Messi, Neymar, Luis Suarez and their Barcelona team-mates will NOT be attending Monday’s FIFA’s ‘The Best’ awards ceremony.
Messi is one of three finalists for the ‘Best Player’ award, joining Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann and favourite and current Ballon d’Or holder Cristiano Ronaldo on the shortlist.
Neymar, Suarez and Andres Iniesta were named among the other 21 candidates late last year, but all four have not travelled to Switzerland due to their commitments ahead of facing Athletic on Wednesday.
An official club statement said: “With the aim of prioritising the preparation of Wednesday’s match against Athletic Club, FC Barcelona has decided that players recognised for ‘The Best’ FIFA Awards, held this afternoon in Zurich, will not attend.
“Barcelona is thankful to FIFA and the president Gianni Infantino, but they consider important the game against Athletic Club and they want their players to rest.”
Luis Enrique, originally shortlisted for the ‘Best Coach’ award before the final three of Claudio Ranieri, Fernando Santos and Zinedine Zidane was announced, will also not attend.
In their place, club president Josep Maria Bartomeu, vice-president Jordi Mestre and other board members such as Silvio Elias and Oscar Grau, Albert Soler, Robert Fernandez and Raul Sanllehi will travel.
Barcelona trail Athletic 2-1 in their Copa del Rey tie, with the second leg taking place at Camp Nou.
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