This #Messi story is massive news for all footy followers ⚽️

Will English fans get the pleasure of seeing the genius grace the #EPL ?
Will #ManCity replace 'El Mago' with 'El Dios'?

As amazing as his on-pitch story is, the background with Barca is juicy to say the least 💸🔁🤯
Recently I read #FootballsSecretTrade (brilliant!) & started watching #Gomorrah (also brilliant)!!
Then started doing a bit of digging into the history of Messi and Barca...

Now, I know the angle I'm looking at this from is heavily influenced by those 📕📽️ BUT wow!

Messy 🦹💸
Barca is an incredible football club #MesQueUnClub & Messi has given us fans some of the most magical moments ever seen on a pitch #MesQueUnJugador BUT the club has a really 'interesting' past which hangs over this current situation.

Let's start with how the club is run...
The supporters officially own & operate FC Barcelona (we've all heard that & most admire that structure) 👏

Since Spain moved from Franco's dictatorship to a democracy in '75 the club has been led by a 'President' who runs Barca on behalf of the supporters/owners.

Enter Nunez..
The first Barca president in '78...
(And to cut to the chase, not the first one to end up in prison)

Say what?!

Yep - Although that's a bit unfair AND it does play into my current worldview that many football clubs are run like Mafia controlled enterprises 👀💸

The late 70's/80's saw the rise of local tycoon businessmen as Spain transitioned.
(Property developers & hoteliers were prominent)
President Nunez was a big time Property magnate in Barca & his counterpart in Madrid (Athletico) was even more famous/infamous - Spain's own Trump!
You can have a read about 'Jesus Gil' here - What a character! 🤦‍♂️…

And Nunez jail time here…

Although it has to be pointed out, Nunez crimes didn't involve Barca Football club directly...where as Gil 🤦‍♂️⚽️💸
So, we've got local businessmen who are partial to a bit of corruption running trophy football clubs - Nothing new there = True!

And in fairness, Nunez was amazing for Barca.
He stabilised FCB, expanded the sports club, brought in Cruyff, Maradona, kept wages suppressed...⚽️🏆
Now, having the Barca Presidency has always been very *political*!

It reminds me of a Papal conclave!

Well, in 2003 the white smoke went up and Barca got Joan Laporte who's Blue Elephant group fought against Nunez.

Laporte; The smooth Lawyer, Politician & Catalan separatist👀
Laporte looks like a movie star & Barca had a Hollywood rollercoaster Zero to Hero story under his presidency.

First up Rijkaard.
Awful to start with. Then Ronaldinho, Deco, Xavi etc got it together & success 🏆

But at the expense of other sporting aspects of Barca.

Laporte got a big head, the rest of the board tried to oust him, he held on.

In comes *Pep*!

Now your talking! Guardiola the local hero with no experience managing a 1st team was given Laporte's & the clubs trust.

He brought through a kid in 2004. 17 year old little fella...
#Messi was his name.

He'd actually been signed as a tiny 13 year old (4"2 apparently). So small, he was diagnosed with a condition that led him to have regular Growth Hormone injections to help him... Grow!

Whatever they did with him worked big time!!…
I feel a bit uncomfortable mentioning this bit of Messi's history (even though he's discussed it openly).

It doesn't feel right to question his magnificence on the pitch...BUT if you're anything like me, you wonder what YOU would have been like if YOU were 10% faster & 💪

Answer is, still not even half as good as Messi 😂

So Barca are on-track.
Pep's got the gang together & Messi is becoming the genius we know.

Off the field, things are changing too.
Sponsorship on the shirts, leading to Qatar's first foray into Footy 💸⚽️

& lots of 'Deals'!
Laporta & his successor 'Sandro Rosell' ended up in court over 'dodgy accounting' 💸

Laporta's final year saw him cook the books with land deals, tv money, player transfer fee's and amortisation values all being skewed to show a profit (when it was actually a big loss ££)

Rosell is no angel & later he would be sent to jail too! 🧐

What for?! 'Money Laundering'.

Ye. Not a good theme this, is it.

They say power corrupts...well, when you're in hot seat at Barca it must make you feel like a Mafia Don 💸

Nike-Brazil-Neymar-FIFA-Joao Havelange #Mob
But, what's all this got to do with the mercurial Messi?

Well, while all this dodgy stuff is happening with presidents at the club, Messi is keeping the show on the road and up until 2015 he kept the headlines firmly on the pitch (rather than a courtroom).

He was paid big💰too!
£25m+ a year in salary & the other side hussles makes massive wedge 🤯 But as Jennifer Aniston used to say *You're worth it*, Lionel!

Well, it turns out the Spanish tax authorities had twigged onto something & thought he wasn't worth every penny he was taking home (via 🌴😎💰)…

This is when things started turning very sour.

You don't get between a man and his money without seeing a defensive instinct (and maybe worse)!

Then his mate Neymar is sold to PSG - What's going on?!

Who's the boss, I want a word!

Enter Mr Bartomeu..
Bart is the pal of Sandro Rosell.
He effectively got the top job by default when Sandro had other pressing issues (Courtroom & Jail)!

He's apparently a nice fella face2face. Very agreeable and placated the top players with new big money deals.

However, he's out of his depth!
There is a sense he's puppet being controlled from behind the scenes & he's done some strange things (hiring a social media company to pump out negative stuff about Pep, Cruyff, Messi!!)

He feels like Don who has turned up to a mafia summit with a water pistol & some insults🤦‍♂️

Here we are. Aug 2020.
Messi has asked to leave - He's made his disdain with the clubs board, choice of new manager and direction abundantly obvious.

Does he really want to move, or does he want something else?

President Lionel?
Donde esta senor Xavi?
Old Gang Unite?!
We know Koeman is a stop gap.

What if Xavi (been mooted with a return) came back as President. Messi as player/manager.

Could this be a dynamic moving forward?

Or, does Messi really want to join Pep in the EPL?
Prove himself in England. Pick up some massive💰& a new language?
Who knows?

Will be interesting to see how it plays out though

Have a 👀 of #FootballsSecretTrade @DuffofBrentford & @tariqpanja did an amazing job with that book

@TheAthleticUK do some great in-depth sports reporting

& if you like the mafia type boardroom stuff #Gomorrah 👏
Vamos a ver...

Por su puseto yo espero Lionel esta jugando en Inglaterra proxima temprano, pero, yo no se?!?
Hay mas... 👀🧐

The connections keep on coming 🤯

I mentioned Nunez (Barca president 1978-2000) One of the Barca presidents that ended up in jail!!

Well, he oversaw the Barca era of another Argentinian wizard #Maradona

The connection I noticed had a #gomorrah link too...

@robertosaviano Did an amazing job with #gomorrah & #zerozerozero

He talks about the Camorra having strong links to Spain (route for the drugs from South America)

The Camorra often went to Barcelona when they were on the run, or when they wanted to invest/launder money 🏗️🏢

He's a great storyteller & Gomorrah is based on this story.
(English subtitles available for this lecture).

This is a great write up too - If you've watched the series, read this and piece it all together! #Gomorrah

Back to Barca though... 💸⚽️
Messi's predecessor, Maradona, was riding high & considered the best player in the world when he landed in Barca - However things didn't really work out for him (introduced to drugs, hung around with the wrong crowds)

Things got so bad, he needed to move!…
Who could of predicted his next move?

#Napoli in Naples - At the time considered a second rate club. Also home to the Comorra mafia who's 'system' controlled large parts of the region (the same guys who made Barca their home away from home).

You see where I'm going with this...
On the Maradona theme, if you want to enjoy a vivid journey from Barcelona to Napoli with some help from Diego's friends in the Camorra, you must see this! 📽️

Such a brilliant film/documentary!!

And so I'll draw this little diversion on #Messi & #FCBarcelona to a close (for now)

Messi's possible/probable move is still in the balance & who knows what the next chapter will be

I've tagged in @Carra23 because I saw he loves Gomorrah (& he knows a thing or two about footy)
Vanity Fair article (mentioned above) on Paolo Di Lauro - Inspiration for Gomorrah…
Money Laundering in Barcelona by the mafia 💸…

Bribery, Tax avoidance - Nunez, former FC Barca president jailed...

Property/Construction can be a huge vehicle for criminal money laundering too 🤔…
It's 'Laporta' - Mea Culpa 🤦‍♂️…
This was the link I meant to attach above ⬆️

Really well written 👏✍️

Tale of 'Paolo Di Lauro'
- Naples
- Secondigliano
- Scampia
- Camorra
- Gomorrah
@theesk We know you're a keen student/scholar of football club governance

I did this quick thread on #FCBarcelona when the speculation began about #Messi possible move

Interesting background there too

All skewed towards my current worldview that everything seems questionable..
He packed a lot into his 60 years.

Pretty amazing he lasted to 60 the way he lived.

Left some great memories & stories.

Incredible footballer!

"…"> (@offtheball) """
@threadreaderapp Unroll please...

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with The Art Of Positive Skepticism

The Art Of Positive Skepticism Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @Livooo

2 Feb
@BBCPanorama #boxingandthemob #kinahan #MTK

Here's an interesting parallel tale from 1980's boxing! 🥊


1.Dark Money (Fraud/Stole from banks)
2.Associated with big name boxer (Ali)
3.Paid Boxers/Trainers over the odds
4.Laundered stolen💸

If you control the big name (e.g. Fury) & there is a lack of scrutiny in professional boxing - Bingo!

-Big name📸📺
-Grow brand📈
-Attract more fighters🥊💰
-Appear mainstream
-More shows/opportunities 2 launder💸
-Side deals (podcasts/clothing/vodka/property)🤝💱
-Big following ImageImageImage
In some ways - Hats off - Good business!

Entertainment product - Fans - Leverage brand✅

Key issues though;

According to Irish, Spanish, UK police the source of those funds R allegedly from criminal enterprises!

(Drugs, Logistics/Trafficking, Weapons, 💰Laundering services).
Read 4 tweets
25 Jan
Bigger than #ElChapo bigger than #PabloEscobar 💉💊☠️💰

Big news then, I guess 👀


Huge numbers! $400 billion+ pa 🌎🌍🌏
National security type influence.

Social - Political - Economic

Where does all that money go? 🤔🔁💸
When illegal drug operations get this big, they cross borders, networks become huge & they need protection/assistance

According to well documented incidents, intelligence agencies sometimes oversee 👀

Political expedience
#VangPao #Laos #KhunSa #Golden🔺
There are loads of other well-documented episodes

The untraceable huge sums of 💰 from drugs come in very handy for clandestine funding of "off the books" type operations


When you're fighting for national interests, can it be justified? #ColdWar ImageImageImageImage
Read 7 tweets
22 Jan
@martynziegler @TheAthleticUK

The 'buzz word' in business - Footy is soon to get it's dose

What's this about though?

#Control #Money #power

These 'Elite' club owners will point to #UEFA & #FIFA chequered pasts & say "We'll do it better"

Despite massive numbers in revenues💰💱 Football clubs are so bloated, the top guys feel they need more!

For long term planning, they need control of the rules of competition too.

The huge swathes of capital hoarded by the investment banks/rich are willing to fund this new comp
The #PremierLeague will end up a place for the 'Elite' teams in the new #EuropeanSuperLeague to play their so called reserve squads - Because the rewards on offer merit that.

That said, with the huge revenues they will dominate, those reserve squads will still be the best ⚽️🤯💁
Read 7 tweets
3 Jan
"Life imitating art" 📽️

Saw a headline last week about the #VaticanBank being involved in some mysterious money flows, so decided to watch the newly edited #Godfather 3 #Coda


For those that don't know the connections, read on... Gives the📽️an added dimension 👀🕵️‍♀️ ImageImage
In the film, Michael #Corleone is effectively trying to break from the #Mafia life & channel his family wealth into something 'legit'

To do that, he tries to exploit an opportunity with the #VaticanBank who are attempting to plug holes in their balance sheet

#Immobiliare 💸 Image
In the film, #Immobiliare is a real estate vehicle owned by the Vatican & #DonCorleone wants to buy-in with his ill gotten gains & create a European conglomerate that will elevate the family for generations to come

Now for the obvious (& not so obvious) parallels with reality Image
Read 17 tweets
11 Nov 20
I noticed the #Derby #takeover is looking on shaky legs from the reporting today - Quelle surprise!

In addition to the thread & background Offshore/Samuelson/Obolensky, thought it might be worth posing more questions

How do these people/structures work?…
I've read quite a lot about ⚽️ finances & the machinations of 💸 in the offshore world.

So, I'll try and give some crude speculation below (with a couple of factual references) & see if we get anywhere near the mark 🧐

Money Men - Fronts - Frauds…
Trust/Offshore Companies are involved in Fiduciary Duties

They take sources of funds (often from discreet, cautious & sometimes nefarious characters)

It is then their job then to create structures to protect, move, make accessible (& sometimes invest💸)
Read 16 tweets
7 Nov 20
*Football, Finance, Front Companies & Exotic Benefactors*


I saw a story this week about @DerbyCounty_TT & their looming takeover - Sounds exciting!

Something really piqued my interest though

A couple of names in the report that I've seen before

#Offshore 🕵️‍♂️⚽️💸🌴 Image

The two 'Shadow Brokers' who get fleeting mentions over the last 15 years as the cast of foreign ownership in English football has become increasingly... 'cosmopolitan' are;

*Chris Samuelson* & *Andrew Obolensky*

Who are they?

What do they do??

Why should we care??? Image

Well, they've appeared in a few books I've read over the years, so I did some searches to try and understand more & connect the dots.

In a nutshell, they seem to be;


#ShellCompanies #Offshore ImageImageImageImage
Read 23 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!