The Argentine attacker was amazed by hints that the Spanish giants hired a company to tarnish his image on social networking.

Lionel Messi says he had been taken by surprise by the revelations of an alleged social media scandal in Barcelona.

Reports published in Spain this week claimed the Catalan side hired a PR company to create social networking accounts that would raise the standing of club president Josep Maria Bartomeu while at exactly the exact same time tarnishing those of a plethora of figures connected to Barca, such as Messi, Gerard Pique, Xavi and former director Pep Guardiola.

Barcelona issued a statement denying that the reports on Monday. Though they admitted hiring I3 Ventures, Barca insisted that the company”has no connection with the accounts, if any connection was supposed to come to light, the team could immediately end their contractual arrangement and bring any necessary legal action to defend their interests.”

Bartomeu then described as “totally false” the claims that they hired the company to discredit anyone.

And Messi says Bartomeu talked to the players after the reports came out and explained the circumstance, but the Argentine icon isn’t positive if the reports are accurate.

“It actually took me somewhat by surprise because I was not here and I was only traveling. When I got back I heard a bit about everything,” he told Mundo Deportivo.

“The president told us the exact same thing that he said in public – the exact same thing he said in the press conference. What was the circumstance, what had happened and that I can not say much more. As you understand everything he said, he told the captains exactly the exact same in private.

“It is weird that something like this happens, but they also said there would be signs.

“We will need to wait to determine if it’s true or not. We can’t say much and we’ll wait to see what happens with this. I truly thought it was a strange subject.”

Messi was only 13 when he moved to Barcelona from his hometown of Rosario at Argentina.

After 20 years at Camp Nou, the attacker is still happy at the club, though he misses his place of birth.

“I love Barcelona but I also miss Rosario a lot,” the 32-year-old added when asked about his home life. “This is my house, I have spent more time here than I did in Argentina.

“I love Barcelona, where I reside in Castelldefels and I have a life that I like very much.”