The retired Argentinian superstar Diego Armando Maradona decided to publicly voice his plans to sue Konami for having included his likeness and name in Pro Evolution Soccer 2017 without permission. More specifically Maradona features in the Legends section of the MyClub mode, where some all-time great FC Barcelona players are found, with the club a premium partner for the Japanese company.
Shortly after Konami responded by shipping a public statement on the matter, without mentioning Maradona or the club specifically, they claimed they had the proper rights.
After this statement, 'el pelusa' has then chosen to use what's been published in a Chilean newspaper to directly involve FC Barcelona in the matter. Here's a translation of what he's posted on his official Facebook:
"Now Konami is publicly saying that Barcelona gave them my image rights!
Now who in their right mind would believe that the Argentina National Team can be handled by Barcelona? Let alone Konami!
At 56 years old I won't be conned anymore...
Konami, I tell you: you're gonna eat up a millionaire trial, and all the money I take from you I'm gonna use it to build football pitches for poor children. And then, on those, they'll finally be playing a clean game.
It's now all in the hands of my lawyer Matías Morla."
While it's pretty evident Konami meant Barça on their statement, it's still unclear how image rights work nowadays for footballers whose contract expired more than 20 years ago, and also where the limit is for what PES (and other titles) can and cannot do with a character they've signed for their virtual lineup (such as, for example, putting on an Argentina shirt). Neither the Japanese publisher nor FC Barcelona have officially commented on the matter after the latest message from Maradona.