Milan defender Romagnoli slams Spain as FIFA eNations Cup cancelled

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AC Milan defender Alessio Romagnoli has criticised Spain after the FIFA eNations StayAndPlay Cup was cancelled due to issues with one of the 2010 World Cup winners' entrants.

The virtual tournament, organised by FIFA with the aim of spreading a positive message during the enforced lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, with participants made up of one international footballer and an eSports star as a pairing from each country.

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However, Spain put forward YouTuber DjMariio alongside eSports player Jaime 'Gravesen' Alvarez -- a move which irked Romagnoli, who was due to represent Italy.

"I didn't like the Spaniards' move who, instead of putting a professional player in the team, they added a YouTuber who plays as a real eSports player," he told ANSA. "They wanted to do the combined double, and then I don't play.

"If FIFA host a tournament, ask me for my availability, and I organise this between my family and professional life, they can't come the night before the event and say that it's a friendly match."

A statement from the Italian FA (FIGC) on Tuesday read: "The Azzurri were in a group with Spain, Portugal and Malta, with the Spanish side the only team without a footballer, lining up the celebrity DjMariio, a YouTuber with 5.5m followers, alongside eplayer Jaime 'Gravesen' Alvarez instead.

"Portugal were due to line up with Diogo Mendes and Diogo Jota, the Wolverhampton forward with two international appearances; while Malta's duo consisted of Christian Spiteri and Dunstan Vella, Hibernian's midfielder with seven national caps."

Sources have told ESPN that Spain had been told they could use an international footballer or influencer to partner their esports star, and believed DjMariio was a legitimate participant.

The statement added FIGC hope it is rescheduled and "the Italian team can take part and the tournament can fulfil its original objective."

Information from ESPN FC's Madrid correspondent Rodrigo Faez was used in this report