Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s regime seems to think Argentine soccer player Lionel Messi and his Spanish club FC Barcelona are sending secret signals to Syrian rebels via passing formations. Syrian state TV aired a clip of a recent match between Barca and Real Madrid in which Messi and teammate Andres Iniesta pass and dribble through defenders, and eventually get the ball to Barca forward Pedro, who then scores a goal.
A run from Iniesta is said to portray the first part of a weapons supply route to Syrian rebels from Lebanon. “Here we see the first stage where arms are loaded from Lebanon,” a voiceover reportedly states as the video shows Messi making his run after a pass from Iniesta. “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.” Watch the clip:
Here’s a map of Barca’s supposed secret signal to the Syrian rebels:
Some have said the video is a hoax. But as Martin Rogers at Yahoo! Sports noted, the Syrian state TV program “used a segment on its nightly news bulletin to launch into a detailed description of how Barca had decided to add covert operations and international espionage to its dazzling array of talents.” (HT: Elizabeth Tsurkov)