Lionel Messi has been accused of a number of things. The greatest footballer to ever play the game? Check. A genius? Check. The next Maradona? Check. A racist? Um ... check, apparently. According to Royston Drenthe, a Real Madrid player who is currently on loan at English side Everton, Messi called him a 'negro' repeatedly during his time in Spain.
Drenthe was speaking to the Dutch magazine Helden where he says that he clashed with the diminutive Argie a number of times during his tenure in Spain, especially when he was on loan at Hercules.
"I played against (Messi) many times and we always have problems with each other," Drenthe said. "You know what bothers me so? That tone which he always says, 'negro, negro'. I understand that negro in South America is very common, but we cannot stand it.
"When Hercules played Barcelona, during the game I had a small altercation with him. He gave me a hand in the match and again said a few time, 'hola negro.'" Jesus! This all sounds rather incriminating.
However Barcelona have since dismissed the claims and praised Messi's character in a statement that read " The player has always shown maximum resect and sportsmanship towards his rivals, something recognised by fellow professionals. We are sure that nay accusations to the contrary are well wide of the mark."
Drenthe himself is no stranger to controversy as he has recently been excluded from David Moyes' squad over the last few weeks for disciplinary reasons that have yet to come to light. And don't forget that this isn't the first accusation of racism this season what with the whole Luis Suarez and John Terry affairs.
So, could Lionel really be a racist? Let's hope not, but then again he can't be good at everything can he? Maybe what he makes up for in football skills he lacks in tolerance and decency. Just a theory.
Article by Gregory Wakeman