Barcelona prez jumps to defense of embattled megastar after conviction

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With Lionel Messi poised to return to Spain next season having failed to lead Argentina to victory in the Copa America, and coming off a conviction for tax fraud, the Barcelona megastar is seeing his legacy questioned left and right. But Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu is going to stand behind his star striker one-hundred percent.

Taking to Twitter on Friday afternoon, the Barcelona president made it fairly clear that the team would defend Messi and his legacy with everything they have.

“Leo, those who attack you are attacking Barca and its history. We’ll defend you to the end. Together forever!” Bartomeu wrote.

However, Bartomeu’s proclamation could be moot if Messi himself is as interested in making a switch to the Premier League as some suspect.

Per Sun Sport, La Liga head chief Javier Tebas recently stated that there is an increasing belief that the legal issues in Spain will ultimately cause him to leave La Liga in favor of a big-money move to the Premier League. In addition, Messi’s father Jorge – who was also convicted in the fraud case – met privately with Chelsea billionaire-owner Roman Abramovich.

Messi led Barcelona to La Liga and Copa Del Ray titles this past year, but was unable to overcome Atletico Madrid’s defense in the Champions League quarter-finals, leading to the team’s surprisingly early exit from the tournament. Over the summer, Messi led Argentina to the Copa America Centenario Final against Chile, but missed a crucial penalty kick that opened the door for Chile’s win.

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