BARCELONA

Barçagate: Which Barcelona players were affected by the I3 Ventures social media posts?

Messi and Piqué were supposedly the targets of a campaign allegedly orchestrated from inside the club. The defender asked Bartomeu for explanations.

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Barçagate: Which Barcelona players were affected by the I3 Ventures social media posts?
ALBERT GEA REUTERS

Barçagate, the scandal at Barcelona, saw the police searching the club’s offices on Monday morning and former president Josep Maria Bartomeu asked to come for questioning by police. But some of the club’s biggest stars have also been in the spotlight as part of the scandal. 

The allegations are that the club hired the services of a social media company, I3 ventures, to act to tarnish the reputations of a host of people relating to the club including players, presidential candidates and former players and coaches.

Messi and Piqué criticised on social media

Leo Messi and Gerard Piqué, who were critical of Bartomeu’s management of the club, were supposedly two of the main targets of the Barçagate case, with fake profile accounts aimed at tarnishing the reputation of the players.

In the case of Messi, the situation reached boiling point when the player sent the club a registered legal letter (the famous burofax) demanding to leave the club.

In the case of Piqué, he was criticised for his business activities and whether they were affecting his abilities as a player. The defender said it was “outrageous” that the club would spend money criticising current players.

Piqué demanded Barçagate explanations from Bartomeu

Piqué said he had talked to Bartomeu about the social media accounts: “I asked him for explanations and he told me, ‘Gerard, I did not know’, and I believed him. And then you see that, in later actions, the person in charge of organising these services was still working at the club…”

As Spanish radio station Cadena SER has revealed, the publications aimed at Leo Mess were in fact done with the aim of increasing audience for the accounts and pages held by the company investigated, more than for the purpose of attacking the player, although comments were aimed at some members of his family, including his wife Antonella Rocuzzo.