— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) July 9, 2016
FC Barcelona have started a #WeAreAllLeoMessi movement in support of the Argentine’s sentence for tax fraud.
Lionel Messi, who is possibly the greatest footballer of all time, and his father, Jorge Messi, were just recently sentenced to 21 months in prison for tax evasion – although the footballer and his father will not necessarily serve time in jail.
The Argentine isn’t the only player from Barcelona to be convicted for tax evasion. He is joined by fellow countryman Javier Mascherano, as well as Brazilian superstar Neymar, who have already received convictions and fines concerning the same matter.
Messi was also accused of tax fraud back in 2013, and willingly paid almost £4 million to cover his unpaid taxes, with no formal fine issued.
Messi has been backed by his club – who have since begun a #WeAreAllLeoMessi movement to show support to their club legend.
Barcelona released a statement on their official club website concerning the campaign. The statement read:
“FC Barcelona has set up a campaign in support of Leo Messi following the sentence issued this week against the Argentinian and his father.
“Using the hashtag #WeAreAllLeoMessi while posting a photo or message with both hands open, the campaign is encouraging all Barça fans to express their sympathy for the greatest footballer in the world by voicing their unconditional support on social networks.
“By making it clear that #WeAreAllMessi, we want Leo to know that he is not alone. All members, supporters clubs, fans, athletes, media and everyone else are invited to participate.”
Barcelona’s President, Josep Maria Bartomeu, also voiced his backing for Lionel Messi on Twitter:
Leo, those who attack you are attacking Barça and its history. We’ll defend you to the end. Together forever!
— Josep Maria Bartomeu (@jmbartomeu) July 8, 2016
Since Barcelona released the statement, there has been an overwhelming number of support on Twitter for the movement.
But, there are also a number of users who have been questioning the campaign, and believe that it is all preposterous and bizarre:
Wars, terrorist attacks, mass shootings every day…Sure…Let's defend a criminal who refused to be a little less rich.. #WeAreAllLeoMessi
— Carlo (@korlinr) July 9, 2016
— Keith (@keefyw) July 9, 2016
#WeAreAllLeoMessi is one of the worst hashtags ever. A punch in the face of ppl who do hard work on a low pay and yet still pay their taxes
— Norissima (@__B_E_E) July 9, 2016