Lionel Messi has used social media to brand a series of stories in the Argentine media — including that he had paid former teammate Ronaldinho’s bail — as “fake news.”
The Barcelona star issued the angry denial Thursday evening after TNT Sports reported he had put down the money to free the ex-Camp Nou star from prison in Paraguay.
Ronaldinho and his brother Roberto Assis were released Tuesday and placed under house arrest after 32 days behind bars. The pair were arrested in early March after allegedly using a false passport to enter the country.
Lawyers for Ronaldinho and Assis have posted a $1.6 million (1.3 million pounds) bond on behalf of their clients, after a previous application was denied because authorities deemed the pair to be flight risks.
The sudden payment of such a substantial fee has led to speculation as to from where the money came. Messi made it clear via his Instagram page that he had nothing to do with it.
He also refuted recent stories linking him with a move away from Barcelona, with Inter being heavily touted as a possible next destination.
Screen-shotting a tweet from TNT Sports, Messi wrote “#FakeNews'”and “Lie 1: Messi to Inter, Lie 2: Messi gave money to Ronaldinho in jail.”
He then added another sentence, which translates as: “What they said about Newell’s Old Boys a few weeks ago is also false, thank God no one believed them . . .”
Former Inter president Massimo Moratti claimed that a deal for Messi was possible for the Serie A side. He told Radio Rai: “I don’t think it’s a forbidden dream at all. Maybe it wasn’t even before this misfortune [the coronavirus lockdown].
“Messi is at the end of his contract and it would certainly be attempted to bring him home. I don’t know if this situation will change anything, but I think we will see strange things at the end of the year.”
Former Inter midfielder Benoit Cauet also insisted the Nerazzurri can sign Messi, while even La Liga president Javier Tebas suggested its biggest-name player leaving the league “would not be a drama.”
“I do not think that the arrival of Messi can solve the problems of Serie A, which are linked to the bad relationship between debts, high and insufficient collections,” Tebas said on a video conference with reporters.
“Serie A’s figures are stressed, and these economic problems certainly are not solved by Leo Messi. I would like Messi to stay here, but if he leaves it would not be a drama.”
All of this has been strongly denied by Messi, who posted his fierce rebuttal to his 147 million Instagram followers.
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