Football superstar Lionel Messi was recently in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. The Argentine forward was stopped by Chinese border control while trying to use his Spanish passport instead of his Argentine one.
Messi, who arrived in China in a private jet with his bodyguard and friends, was heading to join his national team ahead of their friendly against Australia. However, his journey was disrupted when he was detained at the Beijing Airport.
According to reports, the problem arose because Messi used the wrong passport. It is claimed that the Barcelona legend believed he could use his Spanish passport to travel to Taiwan, meaning that it would also be valid for China.
However, this assumption was incorrect, and Messi was delayed by two hours before being granted a visa and allowed to enter the country. A video circulating on social media showed the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner surrounded by several police officers, visibly frustrated with the situation.
This incident has sparked criticism of Messi’s handling of the situation, with many arguing that he should have been better informed about the regulations regarding international travel. However, Messi is not the first athlete to face difficulties at border control.
In 2018, Cameroon’s squad for the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations was delayed for six hours at Accra airport in Ghana due to visa issues. The squad eventually arrived in Ghana, but their preparation for the tournament was severely impacted.
This incident highlights the importance of understanding the regulations around international travel and ensuring that all necessary documents are in order before embarking on a journey. The footballing world will be hoping that Messi’s off-field troubles don’t affect his performance on the field in the upcoming friendly against Australia.