Argentina icon Lionel Messi was reportedly stopped at China’s Beijing Airport after failing to use the right passport when entering the country.
Lionel Messi landed in China in a private jet over the weekend to join up with his compatriots ahead of Argentina’s friendly clash with Australia on Thursday (June 15). The 35-year-old, who was traveling with his bodyguard and friends, including Angel Di Maria, reportedly found himself in a bit of a pickle at the Beijing Airport.
A viral video on social media showed Messi surrounded by quite a few police officers at the airport. He was caught talking to the officers, trying to explain the issue. Local Chinese press (via The Mirror) has claimed that the Inter Miami-bound footballer tried to use his Spanish passport instead of his Argentine one, leading to the confusion.
Furthermore, it has been reported that Messi thought he could get into China with his Spanish passport, as he did when he entered Taiwan. The Barcelona legend reportedly thought Taiwan was a part of China. He was quoted as saying:
“Is Taiwan not China?”
Messi, who supposedly was not carrying his Argentine passport, had to wait for two hours before he was granted a VISA and allowed to enter China. This is Messi’s seventh trip to the country. His most memorable one took place in 2008, during the Beijing Olympics, where his exploits helped La Albiceleste clinch the gold medal in men's football.
After facing Australia in Beijing on Thursday, Messi and Co. take on Indonesia at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium on June 19.
Lionel Messi is ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo in one key stat in international football
The Lionel Messi-Cristiano Ronaldo rivalry is as old as time. Despite both players nearing the end of their career, the comparisons are still raging on.
In international football, Ronaldo has the edge over the Argentine genius in terms of goals scored. The 38-year-old has 122 goals in 198 appearances, while the 35-year-old Messi has 102 in 174 games.
However, in terms of goal involvements, Messi has the edge over Ronaldo. Apart from scoring 102 goals, Messi has also claimed 54 assists, bringing his total goal contributions to 156. Ronaldo, meanwhile, has provided 33 assists, taking his goal contributions to 155.
Not only does Lionel Messi has a narrow lead in terms of overall goal involvements, he has also played 24 games fewer than the Al-Nassr star, leading to a higher average. Messi takes 93 minutes to make a goal contribution, while Ronaldo takes a noticeably longer 101 minutes.