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How Lionel Messi’s tax case makes me grapple with the unthinkable

The privacy campaigner Max Mosley used to have a nice line in mischievous devil’s advocacy. If footballers were such immensely significant role models, he inquired of the tabloids who used that position as justification for various stings, is there not an argument for protecting impressionable youngsters from hearing of their misdeeds, by publishing nothing whatsoever about them?

He wasn’t being entirely serious, of course, and nor am I when I confess to wondering dolefully what I am about to find myself forgiving Lionel Messi for. What financial allegation will I have to avert my eyes Pooterishly away from, as if the Barcelona demigod gives a zillionth of a toss where I’m looking? What action that I would condemn utterly in Gary Barlow will I find a way to make uneasy peace with as far as Lionel Messi is concerned?

By way of background, Messi and his father are due in canada goose coat 1000 calorie a day diet court in Spain next month on three charges of tax fraud. Furthermore, he is named in the Panama Papers as a client of the offshore law firm Mossack Fonseca, though has expressed his authentic canada goose jacket sale intention to sue a Spanish publication which alleges his involvement amounts to tax evasion on image rights deals. As for his football club, Barcelona have issued a statement that I can only imagine being delivered in oleaginous tones by a forelocked courtier, who then bows and holds this pose as he shuffles backwards out of Messi’s throne room, shutting the ornate double doors with practised delicacy. “FC Barcelona has sent its affection and support to his whole family,” this document breathes. “The Club makes all of its judicial means, fiscal and administrative, at the family’s disposal in order to make his actions and honour clear in this case.”

Now let that be an end to it. But what if it isn’t? What if the unthinkable happens and Messi and his papa are found guilty on the tax rap, and then decline to follow through with their buy canada goose parka ottawa threat to sue the Spanish publication for reasons upon which we could then only speculate?


Yes, I must confess I’ve told some awful fibs to myself about certain sports legends over the years

Well, I know from experience that that will be the point I begin constructing an alternative reality in which Messi isn’t really responsible for something I would deem entirely the fault of, say, Lewis Hamilton. It was the same with Shane Warne and his diet pills click over here, bless him. I loved watching Warne so much that when he tested positive for a banned diuretic, I worked tirelessly to defeat the 10% of myself minded to rule in the manner of an impartial judge. Think about it, I assured myself: Shane has those specially tailored boot-cut cricket trousers made to deceive the eye into making his arse look smaller. Of COURSE he was just trying to lose weight. Of COURSE it was his mum’s fault.

I wouldn’t like to call it too early with Messi, but if this doesn’t go the right way for him I imagine I’ll find a way for this all to be his dad’s fault. I’m halfway there with it already, to be honest – how has Lionel got the time or the inclination to buy canada goose jacket winnipeg worry about where the hell his image rights money is? Do people honestly wish him to spend less time honing his otherworldly talent, and more poring over spreadsheets? It really is quite unconscionable.

Yes, I must confess I’ve told some awful fibs to myself about certain sports legends over the years. I forgave Carl Lewis some pretty disappointing things. God, I forgave Roger Federer that jacket, which was nothing short of unforgivable. There are some limits. I’d sincerely hope my moral elastic would snap if Messi had been even remotely connected with a violent crime (though obviously I forgave Gazza for Moaty.)

By now, many better souls than me will feel moved to point out that it is entirely possible to hold the two positions in your head at the same time – to think that Messi is the world’s greatest and most uplifting footballer, but also a deeply unappealing financial planner.

But there’s the thing – I do not want to be realistic as far as Messi is concerned. The whole point of him is that he defies realism. He exists as a fantastical rebuke to realism, and the idea that he’s akin to Jimmy Carr or David Cameron’s dad in any way is simply unacceptable to me. I don’t want to know. No, it is a measure of how transporting the athletes most touched with genius can be that I’d rather be a hypocrite than let daylight in on magic as far as Lionel Messi is concerned. I best canada goose jacket for women mean, really: who breaks a butterfly on a Panamanian shell company?

Mourinho and Syria: a chastening rebuke

Unbridled mirth this week as the Syrian football association offers José Mourinho the chance to manage the country’s national side. Indeed, the Syrian FA has gone so far as to post a letter to his agent on its official Facebook page, causing some to wonder joshingly whether José could really hack it on a barrel-bombed Wednesday in Aleppo or whatever. All good fun, no doubt.

But I can’t help wondering if this isn’t part of a pattern of Syrians being so desperate to highlight their various plights that they tap pointedly into the relatively frivolous best canada goose coat canada goose buy canada goose jacket online canada coat 1000 bulbs garland for women stories buy canada goose coat online with which the free world is far more obsessed. This time it’s who’s in or out at Manchester United; last year it was the headline dominance of Caitlyn Jenner. I still feel chastened by the photo of a group of rebels from the town of Kafranbel – whose town was resisting both Assad and Isis – holding a giant banner reading: “Caitlyn! We would write Kafranbel with a C, if it meant, like you, we would be free. Maybe liberated Cafranbel?”

Mmm. There are times when a celebrity angle stands as something of a rebuke to those of us with the luxury of obsessing about the superficial, and Mourinho for Syria does have that flavour.

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