Barcelona, Leagues, Lionel Messi, Spanish Primera División, Story

Despite trailing Barcelona by eight points in La Liga, Sid Lowe feels Real Madrid will have chances to mount a comeback.

Lionel Messi has fulfilled a promise made last year to Doctors Without Borders and donated over €70,000 to the charity after winning a libel case against newspaper La Razon, the player’s management company has confirmed.

Spain’s Supreme Court has agreed with a Barcelona court’s ruling that the criticism against the forward had been “unnecessary and impertinent” in an article published after Argentina’s World Cup final defeat to Germany in 2014.

Beyond just criticising the Barca player, journalist Alfonso Ussia, who wrote the article, went as far as to claim that Messi wore a wig and had used the performance-enhancing drug Nandrolone.

Last year’s ruling stated that the article went outside the bounds of an opinion piece and ordered that La Razon, its editor Francisco Marhuenda and Ussia should pay €72,783.20 to Messi.

The case had been left on standby for the last 17 months but was finally closed on Thursday by the Supreme Court, with Messi then donating his compensation to charity.

Lionel Messi had faced criticism from La Razon after Argentina’s World Cup final defeat to Germany in 2014.

“The football player Lionel Andres Messi Cuccittini has donated a total of €72,783.20 to the organisation Doctors Without Borders,” the player’s management company confirmed.

“It corresponds to the full amount of compensation requested by the player in the conflict arising from the publication of the article ‘Sonatina’ in La Razon by the journalist Alfonso Ussia.

“The decision made by a Barcelona court [last year] has now been declared inadmissible by the Supreme Court. [Messi] will continue to defend himself against false and inaccurate accusations which attempt to dishonour him.”

Messi was back in training with Barcelona on Thursday after returning from Greece on Wednesday, where Ernesto Valverde’s side were held to a goalless draw by Olympiakos in the Champions League.

Barca are preparing for Saturday’s La Liga game against Sevilla at the Camp Nou, which is followed by an international break.

Samuel Marsden covers Barcelona for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @SamuelMarsden.

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