Silly season might be over for real football clubs, but as we well know, it's always silly season as far as the tabloids are concerned, especially over in jolly old England. Maybe it's the dreary weather, or maybe it's the dreary football; whatever the reason, it seems as though the tabloids are hell-bent on escaping reality and want everyone else to mindlessly follow them as they continue their descent into insanity. Typically, such a descent would be "slow" or "gradual"; yet in pioneering fashion the Daily Mail have broken the trend. There is no gradual descent. Rather than slowly spiral into lunacy, they've jumped right in with an absolute corker of a story:
"Lionel Messi could finally consider a move away from Barcelona as a consequence of his troubles with the taxman."
Ludicrous, I know, but what if they're onto something? I mean maybe it's time for a hypothetical -- if we think it through, maybe this is quite logical and plausible? So, indulge me for a moment and imagine you are the world's greatest footballer.
Your love for football is all-consuming -- so much so that you have very little time for hair products, or releasing your own brand of underwear like some of your inferior rivals. Given how little time you have for these ground-breaking activities, it's no small wonder that you don't have enough time or effort left to properly take care of your taxes. In fact, you're so infatuated with kicking a ball that you apparently don't even have enough time to hire the right person to do that for you, and as a consequence, the state starts to pester you about paying them more money.
An inconvenience, I know.
Even with this distraction, your unabiding love for football continues so you hear the state out and give them some money, just so you can get back to playing football without interruption. You're the greatest footballer in the world remember, so you have plenty of money and you'll continue to make much more. It doesn't matter that the state will probably use it to fund the latest Florentino Perez construction project; you're just glad to get this matter behind you so you can get back to doing what you do best.
Everything is fine and dandy. You and the ball are reunited again: sunshine, lollipops and rainbows everything that's wonderful is what you feel when you're together. And then disaster strikes. The rainbow dissipates. The taxman is back, stealing your lollipop and the dark cloud of a tax evasion case blocks out the sunshine.
What would you do?
Oh shoot...even after that long-winded hypothetical, the Daily Mail story still seems stupid and illogical...in fact, it's arguably worse than that. Because what's even less logical than leaving the country in which you have raised your family to evade a tax bill? That's right! Move to another country with a higher tax bill!
According to the Daily Mail, Lionel Messi might be tempted to switch the courtrooms in Catalunya for a penthouse in Paris, France. That's France, as in the France that just approved a 75% top rate income tax. The same rate of income tax that prompted Gerard Depardieu to bid adieu to his homeland for a home in his new motherland, Russia. I mean, if you really were setting out to evade tax, you'd definitely move to a country with one of the highest rates of income tax as opposed to the nearby tax haven of Monte Carlo, right?
And to think that people believe journalism is dead...
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