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Messi fans outraged after leak reveals ex-Barcelona board member called icon 'sewer rat, hormonal dwarf'

Argentinian legend Lionel Messi was reportedly targeted with insults from former Barcelona board member Gomez Ponti, according to WhatsApp chat leaks published in Spanish media.

football Lionel Messi fans outraged after leak reveals ex-Barcelona board member called icon 'sewer rat, hormonal dwarf' snt
First Published Jan 13, 2023, 6:40 PM IST

For most of his playing career, Barcelona possessed one of the best players ever. Lionel Messi brought success to Camp Nou that was previously unthinkable, but some former Board members of the Catalan club reportedly targeted distasteful insults towards the Argentinian legend.

Messi, who left the club in the summer of 2021 to join Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), was reportedly called a "sewer rat" and a "dwarf" by Barcelona's former head of legal services, Roman Gomez Ponti, in the recently leaked WhatsApp messages.

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The conversations, which were reportedly sent in a Whatsapp group between Ponti, ex-president Josep Bartomeu, former general director Oscar Grau, ex-financial director Pancho Schroder, and ex-directory of Strategy and Innovation Javier Sobrino, were discovered by the Spanish publication Sport.

Ponti attacked Bartomeu for showing favouritism to the 35-year-old in the harsh texts. The fact that Messi's contract information had been revealed to the press in 2021 infuriated the group members just as much.

Stating his annoyance, Ponti is alleged to have written, "Barto, honestly, you can't be such a good person with this sewer rat. The club gave him everything and he has dedicated himself to dictating signings, transfers, renewals, sponsors just for him etc."

Questioning the contract renewals of Luis Suarez and Jordi Alba, Ponti wrote, "I could never do it but to the figures in the contract, you also have to add Pinto, Suarez's renewal, Jordi Alba's and the commission for Ansu Fati's renewal (Rodrigo Messi, agent? But if he doesn't know how to even read and his partner is a drug dealer)."

"And above all the accumulation of blackmail and rudeness that the club and those of us who work[ed at the club] have suffered from this hormonal dwarf who owes Barça his life… ah!" he remarked.

"But when bad things happen (the pandemic), you receive the legendary message on Whatsapp: 'Presi, drop everyone else's salary, but don't touch mine or Suarez's.' I hope he leaves to indifference, which is the worst thing that could happen to him (another money grabber)."

To that, Grau is said to have agreed: "Yes."

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Bartomeu, meanwhile, allegedly replied: "I agree on many things, but Barça come first and this type of article hurts the club's image."

Later, Bartomeu even acknowledges that "many times we have listened to Leo, not always, but many times and this contract without a pandemic was totally assumable."

Bartomeu also emphasised that Messi represented 15 per cent of the budget and that "it was correct considering everything he generates."

Messi left Barcelona due to the salary cap that Barcelona had to maintain because he could not extend his contract.

Even Sergio Busquets, probably the least offensive player from Barcelona's golden group, received criticism. Busquets is "of those players who have no market and cannot be transferred (Busquets can be an excellent example), to fire them with minimal compensation and forget that they have gone through the club for being unsupportive."

Even though Gerard Pique is a considerably more divisive personality, his final game at Camp Nou garnered the largest crowd of the year. Following Barcelona's 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich, Pique demanded a leadership change at the organisation, which prompted Gomez Ponti to send the following statement.

"You need to have few scruples and be a huge son of a w****."

Meanwhile, Messi fans are outraged with the former Barcelona board member's insults. "Classless. Messi had the last laugh," noted one fan on Twitter, while another added, "Bartomeo and his board should be in jail for what they did to barca and their players."

"That administration was so dirty maan, noted a third Messi fan, while a fourth added, "Barto and his entire crew were cancerous who ruined the club to the core."

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Here's a look at some of the other reactions:

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