Lionel Messi said Wednesday it was ‘strange’ to see Barcelona locked in a row over a company accused of criticising current and former players, including himself, on social media.
Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu said on Tuesday the club had terminated its contract with PR company, I3 Ventures, who had been hired to improve the image of Bartomeu and the club’s board online.
According to Spanish radio station Cadena Ser Catalunya, the company oversaw ‘dozens’ of accounts attacking the likes of Messi, Gerard Pique, Xavi Hernandez, Pep Guardiola and Carles Puyol on Facebook and Twitter.
Among the messages the report cited is one expressing anger towards Messi for his delay in signing a new contract and another questioning Pique’s involvement in tennis’ Davis Cup.
‘The truth is that I find it strange that something like this happens,’ Messi said in an interview to be published on Thursday by Catalan newspaper Mundo Deportivo.
‘But they also said that there would be evidence. We will have to wait to see if it is true or not. We cannot say much and wait to see what happens with all this. It seems a strange issue,’ added the Barca captain.
Bartomeu has met with senior players, including Messi, to explain the case.
‘The president told us the same thing he said publicly, the same thing he said at the press conference. What was the situation, what had happened. I can’t say much more,’ Messi said.
In a statement on Monday, Barcelona denied that it was behind the messages and Bartomeu reiterated that stance on Tuesday.
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