Cameron Soltis: Some Messi papers

downloadSince we were discussing the Panama Papers, I decided to see if the leak implicated any celebrities of which I am a fan.

Sure enough, there was, but it was someone I had never expected and I believe I am not the only one shocked by this news. One must be living under a rock  if they do not know the name Lionel Messi. Up until his naming in the recent Panama Papers, Messi was seen as gracious, humble and just a good person.

It is kind of hard to be so humble when you are considered one of the best professional soccer players to have ever lived, while also making millions of dollars, but:

“Messi was named this week in the Panama Papers for his alleged involvement in setting up a shell corporation amid an ongoing tax-evasion court case in Spain that could put him in prison for 22 months. So far, his endorsement deals and standing as a beloved global star have been unaffected and Messi appears unlikely to suffer a major hit to his multimillion-dollar brand — as long as the world’s favorite soccer player can stay out of prison.”

It is crazy to imagine not seeing Messi on the field for a year and ten months. I am not surprised, however, that his fan base and endorsements have not dropped him. He is like the Derek Jeter of soccer, always saying the right thing and playing the game the right way. This good sportsmanship, however, does not excuse the Spanish soccer star from his shady, off the field dealings.

Messi is getting a great deal of support from his home club FC Barcelona.

“Since the very first moment that the ‘Panama Papers’ which accuse Leo Messi were released, FC Barcelona has sent its affection and support to the player and to his whole family,” said Barcelona in a statement released a week ago Monday.

Only time will tell what will happen to the soccer superstar.

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