Lionel Messi and Barcelona have been fined a combined €780 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 while his club were fined €180, paid homage to Maradona by taking off his Barcelona shirt to reveal a Newell’s Old Boys shirt beneath belonging to Maradona.
The Spanish football federation’s competition committee rejected 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.
Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona celebrates goal 4-0 with a Club Atletico Newell’s Old Boys shirt with the number 10 on the back in memory of former footballer, Diego Armando Maradona. Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images
The statement added that Messi could only have had the sanction waived if he had been given the booking in error. Messi’s booking pushes him one game closer to a ban.
Messi is a supporter of Newell’s Old Boys having 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 based 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.
Meanwhile, Newell’s Old Boys said on Wednesday they’ve begun to sell replicas of that jersey after receiving “hundreds of inquiries” about it.
“Leo Messi … decided to remember and pay homage to a genius of global football … in a show of love and respect to one of the greatest in history,” the Rosario club stated.