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Lionel Messi accused of sending secret signals to Syrian rebels … during match

Mar 21, 2012, 4:44 PM EDT

FC Barcelona v Granada CF - La Liga Getty Images

The script to a lost Woody Allen comedy? A story in The Onion? No, the Syrian government is reportedly serious about this: they think that Lionel Messi and some of his Barcelona teammates were giving secret signals to the Syrian rebels during a recent televised match with Real Madrid. Your WTF story of the year comes from your friends at Syria’s state-run TV station, Addounia channel. They claim to have broken down the footage of one of Barcelona’s goals, which shows the path that the ball traveled is exactly the same as the route that rebels took to smuggle guns from the Lebanese border, through the mountains to Al Magadin. On a smaller scale, I hope they mean.

It’s a theory that only Admiral Boom from Mary Poppins could appreciate. London Daily Mail:

In the outrageous Addounia channel footage World Cup winning midfielder Iniesta is said to portray the first part of the route, when arms are loaded from Lebanon.

He passes to Messi who dribbles around several of the European Champions arch-rival’s stars before setting up a goal for Pedro.

His run, it is claimed, can be deciphered as a secret code used by rebels who can then draw a route into Syria by tracking the direction of the dribbles, passes and shot.

The running commentary says: ‘Here we see the first stage where arms are loaded from Lebanon. Then they pass through Homs and are delivered to another terrorist. We also see how they warn that they will face some obstacles until they reach Dayr Al Zawr.

“Then they are transported by bus to the final destination, located in Al Magadin.”


Here’s video of the TV broadcast in which the secret code is reportedly explained.

Messi became Barcelona’s all-time leading scorer (232 goals) on Tuesday with his hat trick during a La Liga match with Granada CF in Barcelona. Here’s the Libyan news graphic (reportedly) that shows how the smugglers brought guns to their headquarters.


Even UFO conspiracy buffs are saying: “This is a bit nuts.”

Some sources are saying that the hoax potential here is high … but this seems too random and elaborate to be made up. But then I’m no expert on soccer, or the Middle East.

  1. jayzus - Mar 21, 2012 at 10:30 PM

    No words

  2. racksie - Mar 21, 2012 at 11:40 PM

    I can find a conspiracy in a church bake sale. But this is nuts.

  3. dowhatifeellike - Mar 22, 2012 at 1:36 PM

    What is the Syrian government doing whatching Spanish football anyway? I thought oppression was a full-time job.

  4. unknowneric - Mar 22, 2012 at 2:44 PM

    I send secret messages to referees during games using my middle finger.