Lionel Messi, the Argentinian football star who recently won the World Cup, faced a visa issue at Beijing airport on June 10 and was held by China customs for two hours.
Lionel Messi, the Argentinian football star who recently won the World Cup, faced a visa issue at Beijing airport on June 10 and was held by China customs for two hours. The player had landed in Beijing for a friendly match against Australia on June 15, but had used his Spanish passport instead of his Argentinian one to enter China.
Videos of his detention spread online, sparking rumors and speculation. The player, who was surrounded by several police officers at the airport, was reportedly heard saying “Is Taiwan not China?” He had mistaken his Spanish passport to allow visa-free entry to China, as it does to Taiwan.
The issue was quickly resolved by the Chinese authorities, who granted him an expedited visa and let him go.
Messi and his teammates were then greeted by hundreds of fans outside their hotel, who were eager to see the football legend. This is Messi’s seventh visit to China, and he had previously won a gold medal at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
Messi will also play another friendly match against Indonesia in Jakarta on June 19, as part of this tour.
The player will then leave European football and join Inter Miami in July, after ending his contract with Paris Saint Germain (PSG). Messi had stunned the world by leaving PSG shortly after winning the World Cup in Qatar.
Messi had faced criticism from some French fans during his time at PSG, despite being one of the best players in the world. His former Argentinian teammate Sergio Aguero had defended him, saying that he was one of only two players who had scored more than 20 goals and 20 assists in the major leagues and the Champions League.