FC Barcelona striker Leo Messi on Friday strongly defended his father from allegations of corruption links, and criticized Barcelona Vice-President Javier Faus.
Messi has again been in the spotlight after stories were published in the Spanish press assuring that the authorities were investigating his father, Jorge, for possible links to money laundering for drug cartels.
These allegations have been denied by the authorities, but Messi still defended his father, who is at the head of his charitable foundation and organizes the friendly games played by the Messi Foundation.
"I am very sad about what they are saying about my father and my friends, because we ensure that 100 percent of the money from those games is for charity," commented Messi.
"I am deeply united to my father and to my family in both personal and professional issues," he said in an interview on Catalan radio station, RAC1.
"If it depended on me, he would carry on being the president of my companies and also the Foundation. As I have always said, I play football and he looks after my interests off the field and in choosing the best people to do that," said Messi.
Messi is clearly less impressed with Barca Vice-President Javier Faus, the man who runs much of the economic affairs of the club.
"Mr. Faus is someone who knows nothing about football and wants to manage Barca as if it was a company and it isn't one," said Messi.
"Barca is the best team in the world and it should be represented by the best directors," he added.
Messi was asked whether or not he was negotiating a new deal to make him the best paid player in the world in the wake of the new contract recently signed by Cristiano Ronaldo, which made the Real Madrid star football's top earner.
Just 24 hours earlier Barca president, Sandro Rosell had said Messi deserved to be the top paid player in the world, but the footballer insisted that if that was the case it was not because he has asked for it.
"Neither myself nor anyone from my circle has asked for an improved contract," said the striker, who is putting the finishing touches to his recovery from a muscle injury in Argentina..
"I am focused on my recovery and I am not thinking about anything else. I am trying to get to my best physical level," he said.
Messi is expected to be available for his club when the BBVA Primera Liga returns after a short Xmas break in the first weekend in January. (Cihan /Xinhua)
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