Is Lionel Messi letting his inner lion out?
The 27-year-old Barcelona and Argentina football star posted “A lion doesn’t concern himself with the opinions of a sheep” on his Instagram account on Monday night.
Fans of the hit HBO series Game of Thrones will recognize the quote as one of Tywin Lannister’s famous lines.
In Season One, Tywin Lannister made the statement to his son, Jaime Lannister, to get Jaime to be less bothered with people calling him “Kingslayer” behind his back, as well as to instruct him on the finer points of power and politics.
It is unclear if Messi is a Game of Thrones fan, or simply found the quote off the Internet and found it appropriate.
Messi did not explain on his post what he could have meant by the quote.
One possibility could be that Messi posted the quote to reflect his feelings about his on-going tax fraud case.
Earlier on Monday, a judge refused to drop charges leveled against the Barcelona player. The court in Gava, Barcelona, ruled that there was “sufficient evidence” to believe that Messi “could have known and consented” to the creation of a fictitious corporate structure to avoid paying taxes on income from his image rights.
The court noted that it was not necessary for Messi “to have full knowledge of all accounting or corporate transactions or the exact amount of the fraud” for him to have had a clear idea of an intention to defraud.
Messi is under investigation because his father, Jorge Horacio Messi, alleged failed to pay 4 million euros ($5.3 million) worth of taxes from 2007 to 2009.
Jorge Messi then made a payment of more than 5 million euros ($6.6 million) in August 2013 to cover alleged unpaid taxes, plus interest.
In June 2014, Messi’s public relations firm said a prosecutor had agreed to drop the tax fraud case against the player and his father.
However, in light of the court’s ruling, investigations into Messi’s connection with the tax fraud will continue, and if the tax and prosecution authorities come up with a strong case against Messi, he will have to appear in court for questioning.
Thus, if Messi’s Instagram post is read in this context, then the Argentina star could be simply be trying to show his fans that he isn’t overly bothered by the potential outcome of an investigation.
If Messi is indeed a Game of Thrones fan, he could also be suggesting that like the Lannisters, he always pays his debts, and has nothing to fear from an investigation by the authorities.
Of course, Messi could just be making a statement about his footballing prowess by his post. It is hard to imagine why he would do so, however, because he is already a Lion(el) among most footballers in the world.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.