Barcelona president Sandro Rosell insists that Lionel Messi will have the full backing of the club over claims of alleged tax fraud.
The Argentinian superstar and his father are reportedly the subject of investigations into four million euros worth of unpaid tax between 2007 and 2009, although the player quickly responded to Wednesday’s claims with a statement on his official Facebook page denying all possible charges.
Jorge Messi, the player’s father, is also insistent of his son’s innocence and told AS: “This is all a mistake. It should have been spoken about with the accountants and legal people, who will clear it up.”
Now Rosell has also added his voice to those in support of Messi, who according to the Spanish media could face a jail sentence of up to six years if found guilty of the charges thought to be levied against him.
He said: “Messi’s family is calm. They have all of our support. I do not doubt their innocence.”
The 49-year-old Rosell also discussed Eric Abidal’s departure from Camp Nou after recovering from Liver cancer when speaking with the media on Thursday.
Abidal returned to playing in April, making five appearances as Barca cantered to the Liga title, but his contract will not be renewed at the end of the month, a move that has been seen as harsh by many commentators.
“We have treated him like a footballer, not someone who is ill, because that’s what he asked of us,” Rosell said.
“I think the club have treated him in an excellent manner and been honest with him, when he was a footballer and when he was ill.”