Barcelona star Lionel Messi was fined and given a post-match yellow card by the Royal Spanish Football Federation's disciplinary committee yesterday after performing a goal celebration in honor of his mother's birthday.
During Barcelona's 3-0 over Racing Santander last Saturday, the Argentinian forward and reigning FIFA Player of the Year, celebrated a converted penalty kick by lifting his jersey to reveal a t-shirt with a handwritten message. To message was for his mother and read, Feliz Cumple mami translated in English as Happy birthday, mami.
Messi's fine is expected to be between €2,000 and €3,000 (roughly $2,700 to $4,100). It's not a hefty fine, nor is it one that will affect Messi on the pitch. What will have an effect on Messi and Barcelona is the addition of the yellow card. The extent of the additional yellow card's damage to Messi's style of play remains to be seen, but were Messi to incur another one, he would be forced to sit out a game.
La Liga is sending a message to its players--whether that message is the right one is neither here nor there--and players are going to have to pay attention to it. And Lionel Messi is going to have to find a different way to wish his mother happy birthday come next year. Might we suggest a singing telegram?
Here's a video from an Argentinian news program's report on the incident.