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Burglary threat: Lionel Messi and Rafael Nadal's mansions under criminal gang's radar

The notorious gang accused of a 2.5 million pound break-in at PSG star Marco Verratti's holiday home had their eyes set on Lionel Messi and Rafael Nadal's mansions.

Burglary threat: Lionel Messi and Rafael Nadal's mansions under criminal gang's radar snt
Málaga, First Published Jul 12, 2022, 7:46 PM IST

The criminal gang suspected of the 2.5 million pounds break-in at the vacation home of Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) player Marco Verratti had their eyes set on the mansions of Argentine superstar Lionel Messi and 22-time Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal.

Following the raid at the Ronaldo property in Ibiza that Verratti had rented for his summer vacation, the police announced last week that they had detained seven individuals. When they detained two guys as they got off an Ibiza-bound auto ferry in the Costa Blanca port of Denia, detectives made the arrests public after finding most of the stolen goods.

Also read: Has Lionel Messi threatened to leave PSG if club signs Cristiano Ronaldo?

They also acknowledged that they had discovered proof connecting the group to an additional 15 break-ins at opulent villas in Alicante, Malaga, and Murcia. In handwritten letters found at one of the suspect's homes, legendary striker Messi, Spanish ace Nadal, Real Madrid icons Guti and Fernando Hierro, and former Spanish PM Jose Maria Aznar are all mentioned, according to excerpts published on Tuesday in a local paper in Ibiza.

The notebook, which was mentioned in a police report leaked to the reputable Ibizan newspaper Diario de Ibiza, was inscribed with the words "PortoCristo. Nadal Mallorca," referring to the stunning beachfront home worth 3 million pounds where the tennis star resides with his wife and soon-to-be mother Mery Perello. Messi's name was listed in the notebook, but no address information was included.

The handwritten notes were found in the residence of a Spaniard in Malaga who is claimed to have collaborated with several Albanians who reportedly carried out the raids.

Detectives have deduced that the word OK was scribbled over two locations on the island of Ibiza—San Jose, where Verratti vacationed, and Es Cubells—as proof that the robberies had been successful. The two men inside an Audi were ordered out of the car by Spanish police, who then handcuffed them while they lay on the ground. The video was released last week.

The vehicle contained the money, jewellery, and other items that were taken from Verratti's vacation home in the early morning hours of June 26.

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Five arrests subsequently took place in the province of Malaga. "Officers have smashed an itinerant criminal organisation specialising in breaking into luxury villas following a robbery at the house of a well-known footballer," Spain's National Police stated in a statement.

"Seven people belonging to a criminal gang of Albanian origin which had allegedly just stolen 2.5 million pounds in designer watches and jewellery, have been arrested. The belongings stolen during the raid on the footballer's villa were recovered in the car two of the suspected members of the gang were using after they were arrested," the statement added.

"Three searches were subsequently carried out in Malaga, and one in Ibiza and evidence found linking the gang to another 15 raids on luxury villas in the provinces of Alicante, Malaga and Murcia," the statement concluded.

The statement was made public before Messi and Nadal's identities were made public. Official police response to the most recent reports has not yet been made. 

Due to an abdominal injury, Nadal had to leave this year's Wimbledon before the semifinals.

Also read: Pictures: 11 times Messi's stunning wife Antonella Roccuzzo sizzled in bikini

Over the summer, Messi travelled to the Balearic Islands with his family and friends, including ex-Liverpool striker Luis Suarez. They stayed on Sa Ferradura, a private island off the coast of Ibiza that costs 250,000 pounds per week.

In Castelldefels, a town close to Barcelona, he still owns a mansion. The property was purchased by the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner and his wife Antonela Roccuzzo in 2009 for 3.5 million pounds. Since then, they have spent more than 5 million dollars renovating it.

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