Pleading innocence, football superstar Lionel Messi told a judge that he never looks at anything he signs, but leaves it to his father to handle all business matters for him. Messi’s fans, numbering in millions across the globe, would understand and pardon him, but whether the judge will be inclined to do so is the big question.

According to Spanish newspaper El Periodico, the five-time World Player of The Year said in court, “I signed things, but I never look at contracts, I don’t know what I sign… I devote myself to playing football.”

It appears that though Messi had been doing exceptionally well at his job in the partnership, his father Jorge Horacio Messi, has landed them in quite a messy (pun intended) quandary as far as handling finances is concerned.

Both Messi and his father are accused of using fake companies in Uruguay and Belize to avoid paying taxes between 2007-2009, during which period the footballer earned $4.7 million.

If found guilty, both Messi and his father may be sentenced to a jail term of nearly two years. This would be quite a shocking setback for Messi as well as for the many sponsors, whose products he endorses. As has emerged in the case of tennis ace Maria Sharapova recently, ethics is a serious consideration in hiring sports personalities, who are regarded as global role models.

“I trust him and I do as he tells me”, is how Messi absolved himself of any wrongdoing and shifted the blame to his father, but perhaps it would have been better for him to be less of a ‘dutiful son’ and more of a sensible adult, smart enough to read any document before putting his signature on it — object lesson to be learnt from a global role model!