Barcelona forward Lionel Messi was recently convicted on charges of tax fraud and sentenced to 21 months in jail. The Catalan club have now engineered a PR campaign aimed at supporting the Argentine, but it has been ripped apart by fans on twitter.
La Liga champions Barcelona have started an online support campaign to back their star player Lionel Messi. However their choice of words has been exceptionally poor, with the Catalan club calling for fans to tweet #weareallleomessi in connection to his conviction.
While a football fan’s love and idolatry of Lionel Messi is one thing, supporting him despite his conviction in a crime and claiming to be the same as him is quite another. The campaign has been met with instant disapproval, with hundreds of fans expressing their rage at the hashtag.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) July 9, 2016
Here are the angry responses from fans the world over.
Teams should worry more about providing financial education for their athletes than whitewashing their crimes. #WeAreAllLeoMessi
— Ian Query (@ianquery) July 9, 2016
— Paul Kelso (@pkelso) July 9, 2016
#WeAreAllLeoMessi because we can all afford to dodge paying taxes of €4.1 million.
— Rob Murphy (@MCMProds) 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
#WeAreAllLeoMessi? Actually, no, we are not all Leo Messi because we pay the taxes that we owe the state without having to be taken to court
— Tom Adams (@tomEurosport) July 9, 2016
— Pankaj Saini (@celliniperseus) July 9, 2016
— Pedro Santos Silva (@dazano19) July 9, 2016
— Jack Grimse (@JackGrimse) July 9, 2016
#WeAreAllLeoMessi cus who hasn’t defrauded Spain for over €4mil and gotten away with it?
— rude tang clan (@Satans_satin) July 9, 2016
#WeAreAllLeoMessi – REALLY? I don’t remember moving to Spain becoming a great footballer and then double teaming the tax man with my dad.
— Kangarubick_LFC (@Griml3xx) July 9, 2016
#WeAreAllLeoMessi is one of the worst hashtags ever. A punch in the face of ppl who do hard work on a low pay and yet still pay their taxes
— Norissima (@__B_E_E) July 9, 2016
#WeAreAllLeoMessi has to be one of the dumbest campaigns ever. Basically saying ‘he’s a tax evader but he makes us relevant so support him’
— Blonde Goat (@GoonerXhaka) July 9, 2016
— Ruari McHale (@RuariMUFC) July 9, 2016