Lionel Messi Argentina forward retires from international football

Spanish justice minister Rafael Catala has joined a growing band of critics of FC Barcelona’s social-media campaign in support of star player Lionel Messi following his sentencing for tax fraud, Goal writes.

Reigning Spanish champions Barca launched the #WeAreAllLionelMessi hashtag in the wake of the guilty verdict and 21-month suspended prison sentence handed out to the player and his father, Jorge.

However, the campaign hasn’t had the desired effect as fans around the world question the Catalans decision to give unconditional backing to the convicted Argentine. And Spain’s Justice Minister has joined the growing list of critics of what is turning into a PR nightmare.

While empathising with Barcelona’s right to support their talisman, Catala accused the club of trying to “minimise [Messi’s] liability established by a court”

“I’m not Messi, I have not committed a tax offence and therefore I do not feel… and do not think many Catalans and Barca fans agree with such an approach,” he said.

Messi is currently enjoying a family holiday in Ibiza as rumours continue to swirl he’s on his way out of Spanish football.