Holy crap, I'm actually having to write a part two to this insanely stupid story. You'd have thought that life in England would have desensitized me to their lunacy, but hey, I'm an optimist at heart and I genuinely believed they would repent, renege their evil ways and move towards the light of honest, intelligent journalism. All my hopes...my dreams for a better future...cruelly ruined by the penmanship of James Dickenson and Martin Lipton.
Each and every word from their "exclusive" reports in The Express and The Sun respectively were like daggers driven into my soul as they exhumed the corpse of football's most ludicrous rumour: Lionel Messi, according to their infinite wisdom and unparalleled insight, is planning to leave FC Barcelona because of the God damn taxman.
I thought that my first response to this garbage would have deterred them; that maybe, just maybe they would have had the common sense to look at the rationale behind their stories and reconsider.Alas, here we are again, 375 days removed from that incident and they haven't learned a single thing. Not a jot. They failed to pick up even one iota of the real wisdom, the real insight that I provided to them. For shame guys, for shame.
My first reaction to the "exclusive" from Martin Lipton was one of surprise, and confusion. Why would Mr Lipton feel the need to publish articles for a tabloid newspaper with such a thriving beverage business? My confusion soon dissipated when I realised that this was a different Mr Lipton. However, an analysis of his work seems to suggest that the real Mr Lipton perhaps has a similar knowledge base to the aforementioned beverage producer on Messi.
Just two months ago, this esteemed journalist was peddling another one of his famous, industry-defining exclusives to the masses, courtesy of his BFF-relationship with Lionel Messi and his entourage. In his privileged chats with Team Messi, he had learned of Leo's desire to bring Angel di Maria to the Camp Nou -- and the rationale behind this story was that Messi is friends with di Maria.
Of course, the article made no mention of the fact that Messi does not control transfer policy in Catalunya, nor did it mention the flawed logic of Messi suggesting that Barça buy di Maria, a friend, when it is clear that a big-money signing would then likely bench one of his better friends, like Andres Iniesta, or Neymar. But I mean, if you look through those two, minor oversights, it really does a lot to establish Lipton's credibility in the field.
With his expertise confirmed, Lipton suggests that Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City have all made informal approaches to Messi in the past few months, and seemingly, based on the wording of his journalistic masterpiece, they've all gone right to voicemail. Previously, Messi or his team would have simply rejected the call, leaving the clubs unable to even serenade him with lustful drunken messages after a difficult night losing to Crystal Palace, PSV Eindhoven or West Ham.
This change of tact, as Lipton correctly points out, is a huge step in the right direction; one club has apparently made contact with Messi twice in the past week. As an uneducated layman, I probably would have thought that this was tantamount to stalking, or harassment, and would be grounds for a restraining order; but the font of knowledge that is Martin Lipton, Ph.D provides some context -- this is actually a clear sign that Messi is ready to leave Barcelona behind in favour for a move to sunny old England.
Oh yeah, because of that whole tax fraud thing!
With the extent of Lipton's expertise knowing no bounds, I braced myself for a lesson in Spanish tax and a full recollection of the facts of the case. I was not disappointed:
I could scarcely handle the overload of information that I'd just been provided. First, the revelation that Martin Lipton does not make iced tea beverages. Second, the brutal admission that Messi had been cheating on his one true love by taking calls from a trio of English suitors. And now this, the bombshell that Messi is facing charges of tax fraud in relation to £3.10 of unpaid taxes?
I don't know how to react.
Oh, yeah: Lipton -- you're a hack, and Messi isn't going anywhere. I can't wait for this story to come up again in a few months time.