Lionel Messi has used social media to brand a series of stories in the Argentine media - including that he had paid former team-mate Ronaldinho's bail - as "fake news".
TheÂ BarcelonaÂ star issued the angry denial on Thursday evening after TNT Sports reported that he had put down the money to free the ex-Camp Nou star from prison inÂ Paraguay.
Ronaldinho and his brotherÂ Roberto Assis wereÂ released from prison inÂ Paraguay on TuesdayÂ and placed under house arrest after 32 days behind bars. The pair were arrested in early MarchÂ after allegedly using a false passport to enter the country.
Lawyers for Ronaldinho and Assis have posted a $1.6 million (Â£1.3m) bail on behalf of their clients, after a previous application was denied because authorities deemed the pairÂ to be a flight risk.
The sudden payment of such a substantial fee has led to speculation as to where the money came from - however, Messi made it clear via hisÂ InstagramÂ page that it was nothing to do with him.
He also refuted recent stories linking him with a move away from Barcelona, withÂ InterÂ being heavily touted as a possible next destination.
Screenshotting a tweet from TNT Sports, Messi wrote "#FakeNews'"and "Lie 1: Messi to Inter,Â Lie 2: Messi gave money to Ronaldinho in jail".Â
He then added another sentence, which translatesÂ as:Â "What they said about Newell's Old Boys a few weeks ago is also false, thank God no one believed them..."
Former Inter presidentÂ Massimo Moratti claimed that a deal for Messi was possible for the Serie A sideÂ .Â He toldÂ Radio Rai: â€œI donâ€™t think itâ€™s a forbidden dream at all. Maybe it wasnâ€™t even before this misfortune [the coronavirus lockdown].
"Messi is at the end of his contract and it would certainly be attempted to bring him home.Â I donâ€™t know if this situation will change anything, but I think we will see strange things at the end of the year.â€
FormerÂ InterÂ midfielder Benoit Cauet also insisted the Nerazzurri can sign MessiÂ , while evenÂ La Liga president Javier Tebas suggested their biggest name player leaving the league "would not be a drama."