“If Messi’s aggressor is a club member, he will be banned” / As / CA River Plate president Rodolfo D’Onofrio has vowed to investigate the incident at Tokyo-Narita airport in which Leo Messi was insulted and spat at by travelling supporters. D’Onofrio said that if the perpetrator was a season ticket holder at River, they will be banned “with immediate effect” from entering the Monumental stadium or any of the club’s facilities. The president reiterated that “One idiot cannot spoil the party for 20,000 Argentineans” – the majority of whom behaved civically and peacefully throughout the Club World Cup tournament in Japan.
“We have a lot of affection for Messi, for the person he is and because he is the best in the world. When we arrive home in Buenos Aires, we hope to identity his aggressor and if it turns out that he is a season ticket holder, he will be immediately banned. This sorry affair only spoils the party for everyone else. I cannot understand it; these idiots should not be allowed at these events”, D’Onofrio told Cadena COPE’s El partido de las 12, in declarations picked up by Europa Press.
“As soon as the game ended and the medals were handed out, I hugged Messi and Mascherano. I have an excellent relationship with both of them, which is why I condone what happened at the airport”, he continued. “When I found out about it, Messi was already on the plane returning home to Barcelona. On arrival at Buenos Aires, I called him. This was a final between the world’s champions, a final which is a great honour for any club to contest, and especially against the best team in the world; one stupid individual has turned the spotlight away from what should have been a special occasion”
D’Onofro was asked about the possibility of Messi and Mascherano returning to Buenos Aires one day to join Los Millonarios : “To sign Messi, we would need to sell our entire squad and part of the stadium; having Mascherano retire at River would make us very happy but I think he’s happy at Barcelona”, he said.
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