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Did Florentino Pérez take revenge on Lionel Messi by promoting a tax fraud case against him?

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That is one sensational implication posited in Gianluca Di Marzio’s new book

FBL-FRA-BALLONDOR-GALA Photo credit should read FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images

The newest book from Italian transfer expert Gianluca Di Marzio is filled with entertaining stories, but one in particular stands out.

It involves Florentino Pérez, Real Madrid’s president, and the biggest star in world football: Lionel Messi. The implication. although not outright stated, is that Pérez used his influence over the Spanish government to make sure a tax fraud case against the player would result in stiff penalties. This, after the forward went against him.

Once again, this is only implied and not outright stated, and has not been proven. But the chain of events is sure to raise eyebrows.

Apparently, in 2013 Pérez contacted Messi to woo him to Madrid. He was willing to absolutely smash the transfer fee record and offer Messi many millions in salary.

Pérez wanted to offer 250 million euros to pay the player’s release clause, money that had previously been allocated to restructure his team’s stadium.

But the Barcelona star rebuffed him. Pérez expected, at least, for Messi to thank him for his interest, or hear him out, but the Argentine simply told him he was wasting his time.

“Florentino, one of the most powerful men in Spain, did not appreciate it. It may have been a coincidence, but a few months later a long tax war broke out against the Argentine’s family and they were eventually forced to fork out 53 million Euros,” the book says.

This is not the first time this all has been alleged. In 2018, Football Leaks revealed documents that they say showed Real Madrid were willing to pay 250 million for Messi in 2013. They also said that Madrid would pressure the Spanish prime minister to drop the tax fraud case if he agreed to join los blancos.