Wednesday , September 27 2023
Lionel Messi was stopped at Beijing Airport (Image: AsiaWire)

Lionel Messi stopped at Beijing Airport and quizzed by border guards over passport confusion

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Lionel Messi is expected to feature for Argentina in their international friendly against Australia later this week – days after being stopped at Beijing Airport

Lionel Messi found himself in a spot of bother at Beijing Airport as he was stopped at border control, having attempted to use his Spanish passport rather than his Argentine one.

Messi, 35, arrived in China in a private jet over the weekend, where he was joined by his ‘bodyguard’ and a number of friends, including Argentina star Angel di Maria. He was travelling to join up with his international teammates in preparation for a friendly against Australia on Thursday.

However, as he was arriving into Beijing, a video circulating over social media showed Messi surrounded by several police officers. Messi appeared to clutch his passport while talking to them about the issue. Local press in China claimed that the problems stemmed around Messi using the wrong passport.

It was also reported that Messi believed he could travel to Taiwan on his Spanish passport, meaning that it was also valid for China. He was quoted as saying: “Is Taiwan not China?” Messi supposedly did not have his Argentine passport on him, despite playing for the national team this week.

Messi was delayed for a further two hours before finally being granted a VISA and let through. It was Messi’s seventh trip to China, having previously visited the country when he participated at the 2008 Olympics, where he helped Argentina to win a Gold medal.

As for Messi’s club future, he will join Inter Miami next month when his Paris Saint-Germain contract expires. Messi has joined the franchise, co-owned by David Beckhamhaving turned down reported offers to re-join Barcelona and to follow Cristiano Ronaldo to Saudi Arabia.

About Charles Igbinidu

Charles Igbinidu is a Public Relations practitioner in Lagos, Nigeria

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