Barcelona News, Football News & Soccer Predictions
Barcelona without Lionel Messi would be like bread with no butter. But fortunately for Barcelona fans, it almost seems impossible that Messi will leave the Camp Nou.
The footballing superstar has won five Ballon D’or’s during his legendary career in Catalonia. But, Messi has lifted the lid on just how close he came to leaving the Spanish club back in 2013 when his career was plunged into doubt after he was investigated following claims of tax fraud.
The superstar is the record goalscorer for club and country, but he stated that he almost felt betrayed by the club and the fans during that period of his career.
So much so that he came within touching distance of actually leaving the club for good.
Not just that, but he believed that the Spanish press were out to get him and wanted to make him suffer. All this meant that he had to find a club to sign for, but ultimately he decided to remain in Spain.
The case ended in 2016, and Messi along with his father were found guilty of defrauding the Spanish government of $4.2 million between 2007 and 2009. The whole case revolved around the image rights of the Argentine.
The superstar was handed a prison sentence of 21 months and ordered to pay a $2 million fine. However, he didn’t end up going to jail for the crime, and he was able to exchange the sentence for a fine of $250,000 instead as is common for Spanish law for residents with no previous convictions.
Messi was first investigated on these claims in 2013 before the government began to investigate a host of top professional athletes in the country.
Other players that have fallen victim to the law were Javier Mascherano, Marcelo and Cristiano Ronaldo. With the latter of these also citing the witch hunt on professional footballers for the reasons why he left Spanish football in favour of a stint in Italy with Juventus.
What did Messi have to say?
Speaking for the first time about these allegations to RAC1 in Barcelona, Messi wasn’t short of honesty. He said: “Sincerely, at that time, I thought about leaving.
“Not because of Barcelona but because I wanted to leave Spain, I felt very badly treated, and I didn’t want to stay here any longer.
“I had my doors open to many clubs, but I never got an official offer because everyone knew I really wanted to stay. This situation went way beyond my feelings for Barca.”
However, Messi also believed that the root of the problem was much different, and they instead wanted to make an example of him in order to crack down on tax fraud in the country.
“I was the first, and that’s why they came down so hard on me. They made an example of me and showed that it was going to be like this for everyone. It was tough because of everything that was happening at that time.”
How has the news affected betting markets?
The La Liga giants without Messi would certainly have been something punters would have been wary of, as has been shown this season without the Argentine in their line-up.
They have stuttered through La Liga due to an injury to their star man, and are only now beginning to find their best form now he is back in the starting line-up.
The return to fitness of Messi will have a profound effect on their performance levels, and it would seem only a matter of time before the odds on them winning the domestic league as well as the Champions League are slashed.
With Messi fully fit and at the club, they will have an excellent chance of winning every competition according to the bookmakers.