Argentine football player Lionel Messi has been summoned to appear in court in Barcelona on Monday in a case brought by a Dutch toy company.
Heerhugowaard company Easy2Company told Dutch media this week it had signed a deal with Messi in 2014 to promote a scooter which it manufactured, but that the star player had failed to honour his side of the bargain.
The scooter, was a big seller in the Netherlands at the time – the company claims one in three Dutch households had one – and Messi was supposed to promote the toy to the rest of the world via his website Messi.com.
On YouTube there is a video featuring a beard-free Messi messing around on the scooters with a few Dutch children as well as a Messi Space Scooter Game and Swiss television advert in which he has a cameo role.
‘He was a really nice guy,’ Joost Bloom of Easy2Company told the Volkskrant. They gave Messi a scooter for his son and pledged to donate 100 to his charitable foundation.
Then, Bloom says, things started going wrong. A webshop to sell the scooter on Messi.com repeatedly failed to materialise and in 2016 the company and Messi broke off the agreement. ‘We had expected such a professional footballer would also have professional management,’ Bloom told the Telegraaf, which broke the story.
Easy2Companyhas been pursing legal action against Messi and his management since 2017 and, after a no-show in February, the footballer has been ordered to show his face in court on Monday.
‘We assume he will come but we won’t know until Monday,’ Bloom said. Messi’s management did not reply to the Volkskrant’s questions.