Speculation about Barcelona footballing superstar Lionel Messi buying a Greek island in the Ionian Sea came out of the blue on Wednesday, spreading like a virus on online media.
However, the fact there has been no official confirmation by the Argentinian and that the owner of the real estate company releasing the information has been accused of spreading “fake news” minimizes the credibility of the story.
The story broke when Alessandro Proto, the Italian owner of Proto Group Ltd real estate agency, announced that Messi had bought Sophia, a tiny Ionian island east of Ithaca which has been on sale since 2015, according to the Private Islands Online webpage.
“We can confirm that Leo Messi has bought a Greek island called Sophia,” Proto Group said in its statement. “Leo Messi has been our client for some time and has already purchased a gorgeous penthouse in Paris through our office.”
According to Proto Group, there are numerous Greek islands for sale and plenty of footballers and Hollywood superstars have been considering investing in them.
However, according to online reports, Alessandro Proto has been notorious for spreading news about supposed high-profile customers of his firm, wanting to buy or sell properties in Europe.
The reports drop names like George Clooney, David Beckham, Madonna, Mel Gibson, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and Kate Middleton, all leaked by Proto as his alleged customers, only to cause embarrassment to the Italian media that published them.
Proto, who was once given a three-year jail term and a five-million-euro penalty, is presented by Italian media as an opportunist, spreading fake news to advance his business. He has even admitted in an interview that he takes advantage of the “deeply flawed” media news-gathering system.
So even if a variety of Greek outlets have reproduced the alleged purchase, it is highly unlikely that Lionel Messi will be spending his summers under the gorgeous Ionian sun anytime soon.
Then again, if the story spreads even more, the football genius might consider it after all. The fact remains that Sophia is among the islands up for sale by the Greek state and remains quite attractive for any billionaire who finds such locations a heavenly resort.
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