Though Lionel Messi has been as dominant as ever when he's been on the pitch in 2013, the year has been marred by injuries and uncharacteristic controversies that have drawn focus away from his talents. Unfulfilled promises during his summer charity match tour upset children and sparked accusations of "defrauding American citizens." Messi and his father also stood trial for tax fraud and he had to pay €5 million in back taxes. Now his father is being accused of using those summer charity matches to launder drug money.
With all of these stories coming out in the same year and coinciding with Messi's current inability to play due to injury, a push has been made to hold Cristiano Ronaldo — previously vilified in comparison the once angelic Messi — up as the best player in the world after failing to beat Messi to the Ballon d'Or the last four years in a row. And Messi's Barcelona teammate, Cesc Fabregas, believes this is all connected.
Fabregas told Mundo Deportivo that it was clear there was an ulterior motive behind such coverage -- hinting it was part of a plan to boost Real Madrid and their talisman Cristiano Ronaldo.
"There are people who want something new, who are tired of Barcelona always winning, that Barca are always the best," Fabregas said. "They want to win in other ways, or for someone else to mark the rhythm of world football. Leo Messi has been the best player in the world for many years, and now it seems when he is a little injured, or something comes out about him, he must be the bad guy. In football when you have many times been the best, there is a tendency for people to say negative things about one player, in order to praise another."
Yes, Cesc has cracked the case. Real Madrid defender Pepe has been playing a long con on the Messi family, leading a second life as "Bepe" — their mild mannered, bespectacled accountant who has purposefully not paid all of their taxes just to make them look bad. Meanwhile, Fabio Coentrao posed as a match promoter and used the Messi and Friends tour as a front for UNICEF (the United Narcotics Cartel Fund). And Gareth Bale injured Messi with that famous Welsh voodoo.
Anyway, it's clear that Messi's suffering now has Cesc suffering once again and all of this is making Xavi very upset. So the next time you want to say something bad about Leo Messi, just think of poor old Xavi.