Not this again. You remember that annoying rumour about Lionel Messi leaving FC Barcelona to move to England? Well, it's back again, presumably because the majority of people who are still working in tabloid journalism are only doing so because they are too devoid of brain cells to secure employment elsewhere at more reputable outlets. Either that, or because they are genuinely narcissistic and enjoy propagating lies in the misguided belief that securing the back-page gives them the power and status they so desperately crave out of life.
Whatever the reason, perennial bullsh!t peddlers, The Sun, ran with their latest "world exclusive" yesterday evening which "revealed" how Messi was "in talks with Manchester City". Note: this extensively researched, ground-breaking exclusive was so complex, and referenced so many credible sources that it actually had to be documented by a pair of journalists -- Shaun Custis and, wait, Martin Lipton?
We've been down this road before Martin, just because you put the word "exclusive" before your article, it doesn't make it any more true. And oh shoot, I forgot to put quotation marks around the word journalists in that last paragraph.
Whatever; the story has been doing the rounds over the past day, because of course it has. And now the "experts" are lining up to provide their "expertise", like Guillem Balague You might remember him as a writer for Madrid-based publication, Diario AS. Or you might remember him as an Espanyol supporter. Both go a long way to establishing his credibility and explaining his comments on the subject, where he remarks about "how the door has never been more open" with respect to Messi's chances of leaving.
Other nuggets of "expertise" from his soliloquy on Sky Sports include great contradictions like how Messi "would not be moving for footballing reasons" but "the idea of another challenge is attractive to him". Oh, and how about that old favourite about how Messi feels so betrayed and unfairly treated by the Spanish Tax Authorities.
When I'm not blogging about Barcelona, my day job entirely consists of me dealing with the personal income tax obligations of high-earning foreign nationals moving to the UK, a category into which Messi would surely qualify. In case you're reading Leo, here's some "insider knowledge": the UK authorities also keep a very close eye on wealthy individuals and audit their tax situations with far more regularity than in Spain. Just saying.
But overall, my personal favourite from Balague's "expert insight" was how Manchester City's potential appointment of Pep Guardiola might play into Messi's decision-making. Or, to summarise: Messi might be influenced by a decision that could happen.
I'm calling it:
Time of death: 27 November 2015
RIP Journalism, you will be missed...