Lionel Messi has been sentenced for tax evasion by a Catalan court. Fortunately, he will not serve jail time and has also submitted an appeal against the decision. However, FC Barcelona has not abandoned their main man and is showing full support for him by launching a #WeAreAllMessi campaign.
The club has released the following statement:
"Using the hashtag #WeAreAllLeoMessi while posting a photo or message with both hands open, the campaign is encouraging all Barça fans to express their sympathy for the greatest footballer in the world by voicing their unconditional support on social networks."
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) July 9, 2016
A statement was also posted on the website of the club with the following message:
"By making it clear that #WeAreAllMessi, we want Leo to know that he is not alone. All members, supporters clubs, fans, athletes, media and everyone else are invited to participate."
Additionally the club president also posted a message on twitter supporting Messi and expressing that the club will not leave Messi alone in this time of hardship and requests all the fans to do the same.
Leo, those who attack you are attacking Barça and its history. We’ll defend you to the end. Together forever!
— Josep Maria Bartomeu (@jmbartomeu) July 8, 2016
A clear message from the club and the stakeholders has been conveyed that they will show complete solidarity with him.
Well! Quite mixed reviews have been posted by fans from around the globe. Not everyone is happy with the club’s decision to support Messi, especially because he has been convicted of a crime. People are of the view that while he has done wonders on the field but that should not shadow his off-field activities.
However, some fans have shown their support for Messi during this hard time by participating in #WeAreAllMessi campaign actively.
Some have been straightly rigid in their statements with hastags like #weareallnotmessi #don’tsupportmessi #wearealltaxfraudlents etc. It seems that the player is being backed by the club but his public image has suffered nonetheless. Surprisingly, football fans are not merging the brilliance of Messi’s on-field performance with his off-field activities, which is good notion indeed.
— Paul Kelso (@pkelso) July 9, 2016
#WeAreAllLeoMessi – Oh wait, we’re not, because we pay our taxes and he quite clearly doesn't. He’s not the victim. Shameful from Barcelona.
— Liam Canning (@OffsideLiam) July 9, 2016
I used to eat the pick n mix from Woolworths without paying #WeAreAllLeoMessi
— Jess (@JessWilshere) July 9, 2016
#WeAreAllLeoMessi because I too am a 5'8", bearded, left-footed forward who has not paid €4,000,000 to the Spanish government
— Mason Belles (@MasonBelles) July 9, 2016
Messi is not the only player to face tax-fraud scandal but his teammates like Neymar, Javier Mascherano, Adriano, and Xabi Alonso have also been involved in similar trials recently. However, irrespective of the verdicts, their clubs have lent complete support to the players.
It is quite shocking to see the Spanish football federation staying silent during the tribunals of all the players mentioned above. Leading football pundits predict that this silence from the authorities will destroy LA Liga. The federation and the authorities refrain from interfering in legal matters of the players but this calm will lead the league towards destruction similar to what Seria A suffered during the course of 2006-2007, where clubs like Milan, Juventus, Lazio, and Florentine suffered heavy blows.
Anyways, the Catalan court has given its verdict and Messi is liable to pay the fine but strict measures are suggested to be taken not just by FCB but the Spanish federation as well. For Messi, we all love to see him on the field playing mavericks and his rivalry between Ronaldo is what’s keeping the temperatures burning. So, we hope to see that rivalry prevail further.