Previous
Chelsea
West Ham United
Dec 26, 2014 12:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Burnley
Liverpool
Dec 26, 2014 3:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Everton
Stoke City
Dec 26, 2014 3:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Manchester United
Newcastle United
Dec 26, 2014 3:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Leicester City
Tottenham Hotspur
Dec 26, 2014 3:00 PM GMT
Game Details
West Bromwich Albion
Manchester City
Dec 26, 2014 3:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Arsenal
Queens Park Rangers
Dec 26, 2014 5:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Next

Messi hits back at Barca VP Faus

Lionel Messi has accused Barcelona vice-president Javier Faus of being a businessman who "knows nothing about football", while also defending his father Jorge from continuing accusations of involvement in the laundering of drug money.

• Ledwith: Barcelona stay sharp
• Fabregas claims anti-Messi agenda

Faus said recently he saw no reason why Barca should improve "this gentleman’s" contract "every six months", amid speculation that the Blaugrana board were unhappy with Messi senior’s attempts to shake more money out of the club.

Messi junior told RAC1 that there had been no demand for a new contract, while suggesting that Faus and his fellow Barca directors were not up to their jobs.

"Mr. Faus is someone who knows nothing about football, and wants to run Barca like it was a business, which it is not," Messi said. "Barca is the best team in the world, and deserves to be represented by the best directors. And I remind him that neither I nor anyone from my camp have asked for a new contract -- and he knows that well."

The Argentina captain also said that media reports linking his family to criminal activity were upsetting, and that he trusted completely his father to look after his off the field affairs.

"I am very sorry about what they are saying, not just about me but about people I love like my papa and players who are friends," Messi said. "What we do in these games is 100 percent for charity. I am deeply united with my dad and my family, in the personal and the professional. I concentrate on playing football, and he concentrates on my off-field interests, and selecting the best professionals to help us."

One of these professionals is Guillermo Marin, chief of Imagen Deportiva, which has in recent summers has organised a number of 'Messi & Friends' exhibition games played in North and South America.

Marin told AS that he was surprised at the controversy which has arisen around last June’s Messi & Friends fixture in Colombia, an event which is also the subject of a probe by Spanish prosecutors.

"All that is being said has surprised me," the Argentine businessman said. "It is all lies. The company Total Conciertos de Colombia called us to organise the ‘Messi & Friends’ games in Medellin and Los Angeles. They called us, and we brought the players, we invited Leo and other figures. Messi and his father had nothing to do with it."

Asked about allegations that large numbers of ‘row zero’ tickets for the Medellin game were used to launder the proceeds of drug smuggling, Marin said this was an issue for the Colombian company.

"The sale of tickets, sponsors, television, that is all a matter for the local promoters, who still owe us money," he said. "We never manage those things -- that is always the local organiser, on their own behalf. If tickets are sold, who they are sold to, how many are sold, that is nothing to do with us."

That pushed the ball into the court of Andres Barco, of Total Conciertos, who admitted to El Mundo that he owed Marin money, while saying the game had not been organised as a fundraiser for charity, but as a commercial operation to make money.

"In the Medellin game nobody talked about charitable ends, it was commercial ends," Barco said. "It was calculated that the event would cost $2 million, but few people went to the stadium. It was all a catastrophe. I have paid Guillermo Marin $600,000, and I owe him $900,000. I will sign that I will pay him. I could not tell you if Lionel Messi received money, what we took in was to cover costs. We took him in a private plane to Qatar. We had to rent the stadium, advertising, hotels, airline tickets for everyone. Also -- as it was holiday time -- the players travelled with their families. A game like this costs a lot to put on."

Asked about the ongoing controversies surrounding Messi, Barcelona president Sandro Rosell suggested on Thursday that he was open to offering the Blaugrana No.10 a new contract, while lamenting what he saw as media ‘attacks’ on the Messi family.

"I have not spoken with him about this, but the offices of the club are always open," Rosell said. "The best player in the world must be the best-paid player in the world. The Ministry of the Interior and the Guardia Civil have explicitly disassociated Leo Messi and his family from any legal enquiries. However, the attack on the player and his family has not stopped."

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.