Lionel Messi is STOPPED by Chinese border control and delayed by two hours after accidentally traveling to Beijing with his Spanish passport instead of his Argentine
- Lionel Messi flew to China this weekend to play for Argentina this week
- He was confronted by Chinese border officials at the airport in Beijing
- They were not happy that he had traveled to the country on his Spanish passport
Lionel Messi was stopped by Chinese border control last weekend after traveling with the wrong passport.
Messi flew into Beijing with his “bodyguard” and several friends, including international teammate Angel Di Maria, ahead of Argentina’s friendly with Australia on Thursday.
However, when he arrived in China’s capital, he was confronted by border officials who were not happy with the passport he was using.
According to Chinese media, the problem arose because Messi traveled with his Spanish passport instead of his Argentine.
The 35-year-old is said to have used his Spanish passport because he thought Taiwan was part of China.
Lionel Messi was stopped by Chinese border control after flying to Beijing last weekend
The border officials were not happy that he had traveled with his Spanish passport instead of his Argentinian one
After informing border officials that he did not have his Argentine passport with him, it reportedly took the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner a visa for two hours so that he could clear the issue and leave the airport.
Messi’s weekend ordeal didn’t end there, however, as he was then temporarily “trapped” at his Beijing hotel along with his Argentina teammates after a large number of fans gathered outside to meet him, Chinese state media reported.
Hundreds of fans tried to enter the main entrance of the hotel, while a big Messi fan spent more than 10,000 yuan (£1120) on rooms to see his idol.
Due to the commotion, Argentina’s training session was postponed on Sunday for security reasons as it was impossible for the players to leave the hotel, but they were able to train later in the day.
Messi’s chaotic weekend came fresh off the back of his huge announcement about his next career move.
He revealed last week that he will join David Beckham’s Inter Miami when his PSG contract expires at the end of the month, after turning down the chance to play for Al Hilal in Saudi Arabia and a return to his old club Barcelona.
Al Hilal was reportedly furious that Messi chose to move to Inter Miami, after having a private jet in Paris ready to take him to Riyadh.
Barcelona also struggled to hide their disappointment over Messi turning down a homecoming, claiming the striker had opted to move to the US to play under ‘less pressure’.
Despite seemingly pulling the curtain on his time in Europe, Messi is still the bookmakers’ favorite to win his eighth Ballon d’Or this year for Erling Haaland, even after the Norwegian striker won the Treble with Manchester City.
Messi is expected to join his new Inter Miami teammates in July after taking a short break following Argentina’s next two friendlies against Australia and Indonesia in the coming days.
He is now free to play in China later this week following his passport accident, and has fond memories of the country after winning an Olympic gold medal with Argentina in Beijing in 2008.