Did Barca fail to support Messi in ‘tax-gate’?


Barcelona's Lionel Messi in a past match. PHOTO/File
Barcelona's Lionel Messi in a past match. PHOTO/File

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Former Barcelona president Joan Laporta says the club should have better supported Lionel Messi during his tax fraud trial and also criticised the Blaugrana board for renewing the shirt sponsorship deal with Qatar Airways for well below the current market rate.

After Messi and his father, Jorge, were found guilty by a Barcelona court of three counts of defrauding the tax department and handed down suspended jail sentences of 21 months, Barcelona launched a controversial #WeAreAllLeoMessi campaign urging fans to “express their sympathy” with a player who the club said had been unfairly treated by the authorities.

Some reports have suggested that Barca’s show of support was motivated by fear that Messi was now planning to let his contract run down until 2018 and then leave the Camp Nou.

Speaking to Catalunya Radio, Laporta, a long-time critic of current Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu and predecessor Sandro Rosell, said it was striking that no senior Blaugrana figure accompanied Messi to court when the player was giving evidence in early June 2016.

SPAIN

  • Chelsea have been told to pay 67 million pounds to sign Real Madrid’s 23-year-old striker Álvaro Morata.
  • Franco Vázquez has signed for Sevilla from Palermo for 15million Euros.
  • Real Madrid have made contact with Newcastle for the signing of midfielder Moussa Sissoko.
  • André Gomes will be presented as a Barcelona player next week the club signed the Portugal international from Valencia for 41.7million pounds.
  • James Rodriguez looks to have ended speculation about his future by insisting he is staying at Real Madrid despite receiving a 71million pounds offer for his services.
Mauricio Pochettino has verbally confirmed a new Tottenham contract, the coach has said. PHOTO/OmniSport
Mauricio Pochettino has verbally confirmed a new Tottenham contract, the coach has said. PHOTO/OmniSport

ENGLAND

  • Steve Bruce has left his role as manager of newly promoted Premier League club Hull City. The 55-year-old, who did not take training on Friday, had said earlier this summer he was uncertain of his future at Hull, who are up for sale.
  • Tottenham’s Mauricio Pochettino is to be approached about the vacant Argentina coach’s position, according to reports in the country.
  • Arsenal fans should not expect glut of big money signings this summer, warns chief executive Ivan  Gazidis. The club have signed defender Rob Holding from Bolton Wanderers for a fee believed to be about 2 million pounds. He will wear the number 16 shirt for his new club.
  • Clinton Njié has been left out of Tottenham’s squad for their tour of Australia Fueling speculation of a move away.
  • Leicester striker Leonardo Ulloa has told the club he wants to leave this summer.
  • Liverpool have signed goal keeper Alex Manninger on a short-term contract.
  • Tottenham will offer midfielder Eric Dier a new five-year contract worth 70,000 pounds -a-week.
  • Shane Long has signed a new 4-year contract at Southampton.
  • Manchester City are in a strong position to sign 19-year-old Palmeiras striker Gabriel Jesus.
  • Chelsea want to sign Benfica defender Victor Lindelof.
  • Swansea City are considering a bid for Liverpool’s Wales midfielder Joe Allen.

ITALY

  • Marko Pjaca has signed a 5-year deal at Juventus.
  • Carlos Bacca has been left out of AC Milan’s travelling party for their preseason tour of the USA, although the Serie A club deny it has anything to do with growing speculation about the Colombia international’s future. Bacca is subject to interest from Premier League club West Ham United.
  • Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri is unsure of Paul Pogba’s future. The Italian still has full confidence his side can compete in all competitions next season without the Frenchman.
Andre Schuerrle (pictured) scored as Wolfsburg recorded a comfortable 1-0 second-leg victory over Gent to move into the last eight of the Champions League. PHOTO/OmniSport
Andre Schuerrle (pictured) scored as Wolfsburg recorded a comfortable 1-0 second-leg victory over Gent to move into the last eight of the Champions League. PHOTO/OmniSport

GERMANY

Borussia Dortmund have signed Germany international winger Andre Schurrle from Bundesliga rivals Wolfsburg for an undisclosed fee.

Hamburg have lined up a bid of 8milion pounds for Jordan Ayew but Aston Villa want to keep the striker.

Sources: DailyMail, BBC, SkySports, soccernet.com, football365.com

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