Barcelona have vowed not to back down in their Lionel Messi social-media campaign as “the club are defending a player who has been treated unfairly”.
Barca launched a Twitter campaign using the hashtag #TodosSomosLeoMessi – #WeAreAllLeoMessi in English – over the weekend in light of the Argentine’s 21-month prison sentence for tax fraud, but it was quickly ridiculed by fans of rival clubs, who accused La Blaugrana of condoning criminal acts.
“It’s a campaign that began Saturday afternoon. It’s created a huge impact, but as it’s caused some controversy, we want to explain our reasons for the campaign,” club spokesman Josep Vives began, Mundo Deportivo reports.
“The club are defending a player who has been treated unfairly. There may be criticism or [different] interpretations, but we fully believe in him.
“We’re talking first and foremost about Leo Messi, a guy who, when he signed those contracts, was 19.
“It turns out that he corrected the situation with the Tax Office with a huge fine of €50m, plus he’s the biggest contributor to the Spanish state.
“It also appears that the prosecutor, who is the one defending the state, believes there is no penal basis to charge him and not to charge him.
“A different criterion is applied in other [legal] cases, and that’s where the injustice begins.
“We’ve encountered humiliation, ridicule and bitterness, and we won’t tolerate this with Leo Messi, hence we started the campaign.
“We believe that the club must do this, keep this campaign going and go beyond it. We’ll support the player’s appeal to the Supreme Court.
“We believe in him and feel him. The club are doing this [campaign] to channel our conviction of material justice.
“When we speak of values, it seems that they aren’t important. Now we’re not talking about values, but exerting them, the defence of ethics and the principle of equality and justice. We invite people to join this campaign.”
Image courtesy @fcbarcelona_es via Twitter