Lionel Messi
Messi has dual-citizenship after becoming a Spanish citizen in September 2005

Lionel Messi has been accused by the Syrian media of sympathising with Syrian opposition by sending them signals with the way he dribbles a football.

The unlikely claims have been made by Syrian TV channel Addounia based on footage of a goal he set up for teammate Pedro against Real Madrid.

Addounia have claimed that this particular footage mimics the exact footsteps used by gun smuggling rebels.

They also claim that the superstar's surging runs are a secret code which tells the rebels what path to take through the country.

As Messi dribbles, the commentary says: "Here we see the first stage where arms are loaded from Lebanon. Then they pass through Homs and are delivered to another terrorist. We also see how they warn that they will face some obstacles until they reach Dayr Al Zawr."

They show a video of Messi making a run from the halfway line (Lebanon) to just outside the box (Homs), where he passes to Pedro who is on the edge of the six-yard box (Dayr Al Zawr) and scores a goal (Al Magadin).

"Then they are transported by bus to the final destination, located in Al Magadin," the announcer proclaims as Pedro scores.

Professor Mark Almond of Oxford University told The Sun: "If I were a Syrian rebel, or someone sympathetic to them, I might make such a video to show the world how silly the Assad regime is."