Barcelona star Lionel Messi will not attend FIFA World Player of the year award gala tonight in Zurich according to a statement released by the Club this morning.

The five times World Player of the Year award winner may be sensing defeat from his bitter rival Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid after the Portuguese scooped the Ballon d’Or earlier in December.

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“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,” said the Official Club Statement.

Other absentees include Luis Suarez, Andres Iniesta and Neymar.

Full story: Goal.com