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Did Barcelona hire PR firm to blast Messi on Twitter?

Barcelona bosses are battling claims that they hired a public relations firm to produce disparaging social media posts against senior players including Lionel Messi and Gerard Piqué.

The intent, according to Spanish radio station SER Catalunya, was to protect the reputation of under-fire club president Josep Maria Bartomeu and damage the image of those that disagreed with him.

The Spanish football club has denied these clams.

“The club demands immediate rectification of the information published and reserves the right to exercise legal action against those who continue to implicate the club in such practices,” the club said in a statement.

A company by the name 13 Ventures, which manages dozens of accounts on Twitter and Facebook, has been implicated in this saga.

Through these accounts, ‘attacks’ were made on Messi, Pique, former manager Pep Guardiola, who currently manages Manchester City, and ex-players Xavi and Carles Puyol.

Interestingly, some of Bartomeu’s political rivals were also involved.

Barcelona has conceded 13 Ventures is, indeed, a service provider but ‘has no relationship with the accounts mentioned and, if any relationship were to come to light, the club would immediately end their contractual agreement and bring any necessary legal action to defend their interests.’