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Barcelona launch campaign to support Lionel Messi after tax fraud conviction

Barcelona have launched a campaign urging fans to "express their sympathy" in support of forward Lionel Messi after he appealed against a 21-month prison sentence for tax fraud imposed by a Catalan court.

Messi and his father, Jorge, were sentenced on Wednesday after a Barcelona court found them both guilty of three counts of defrauding the tax department to the tune of €4.1million.

Under Spanish law, sentences under two years are usually suspended but, nonetheless, Barca have called on supporters to voice their "unconditional support on social networks".

A statement on read: "FC Barcelona has set up a campaign in support of Leo Messi following the sentence issued this week against the Argentinian and his father.

"Using the hashtag #WeAreAllLeoMessi while posting a photo or message with both hands open, the campaign is encouraging all Barca fans to express their sympathy for the greatest footballer in the world by voicing their unconditional support on social networks.

"By making it clear that #WeAreAllMessi, we want Leo to know that he is not alone. All members, supporters clubs, fans, athletes, media and everyone else are invited to participate."


Dani Alves seals Juventus deal after leaving Barcelona

Juventus have signed Dani Alves on a two-year contract after the Brazilian full-back decided to end his eight-year Barcelona career.

The 33-year-old, who passed his medical on Monday, had 12 months left on his contract in Spain but asked to leave earlier this month after winning his sixth La Liga title.

Alves was a regular for Barcelona since joining from Sevilla in 2008 and enjoyed a trophy-laden time at the Nou Camp, including the treble in 2014-15.

Barcelona confirm Dani Alves departure

Dani Alves is on the move. Credit: PA

Brazil right-back Dani Alves will leave Barcelona in the summer, the La Liga champions have confirmed.

Alves, 33, will depart the Nou Camp after eight years with the Catalan club which has seen him win six domestic league titles and the Champions League on three occasions.

The attack-minded full-back has been heavily linked with a move to Juventus or possibly linking up with former Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola at Manchester City.

Dani Alves has decided to leave. It's a personal decision that we respect.

– Barcelona sporting director Robert Fernández


Neymar agent Ribeiro talks up PSG move

Neymar has a contract at Barcelona until 2018. Credit: PA

Neymar could be tempted by a move from Barcelona to Paris St Germain, according to his agent.

The Brazil forward, 24, has excelled as part of Barca's 'MSN' strikeforce alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, with the Catalan club six points clear at the top of the Primera Division, through to Copa del Rey final and in the Champions League quarter-finals.

He also has a release clause in his contract of 193million euros (£154m), according to his representative Wagner Ribeiro, who nevertheless feels a "dream" move is a possibility.

Neymar has a contract with Barca until 2018.

He feels good in Barcelona, he's loved over there and he's playing for the best team in the world. It's no small feat to impose yourself at such an enormous club.

But the prospect of living in a city like Paris and to play for a club like PSG - that's also a dream for every player.

We'll see in two years, when he will be at the end of his contract.

– Wagner Ribeiro speaking to L'Equipe.

Ronaldo hits late Clasico winner in the Nou Camp

Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane. Credit: PA

Cristiano Ronaldo hit a late winner to hand 10-man Real Madrid a shock 2-1 win in a fiery El Clasico and end Barcelona's long unbeaten run.

The Portuguese star pounced five minutes from the end of a pulsating La Liga clash at the Nou Camp, just moments after his captain Sergio Ramos had been sent off for the 20th time in his career.

Real had already come from behind with Karim Benzema scoring a superb equaliser to cancel out a Gerard Pique header early in the second half.

The defeat, on what was an emotional occasion for Barca in their first outing since the death of Johan Cruyff, was the Catalan side's first in 40 matches in all competitions.

It also provided a potential twist in the Primera Division title race, with Barca's lead over Atletico Madrid at the top now cut to six points and with Real just another point further behind.

It was Real's first win at the Nou Camp for three years and came in Zinedine Zidane's first Clasico in charge of the team.

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