Lionel puts his foot in it with Egyptian donation Mess

Lionel Messi caused something of a diplomatic incident when he donated a pair of boots to an Egyptian charity auction
Picture by PA
Neil Loughran

WHO would be Lionel Messi? Dropping the shoulder and skipping away from defenders with all the ease of someone -  anyone, anyone at all - accidentally avoiding paying tax, the little Argentine’s dancing boots normally leave onlookers open-mouthed.

They had the same effect in Egypt this week except, this time, the open mouth in question was foaming with rage and spewing out bile after Messi’s most outrageous bit of cheek yet. The Barcelona ace had the audacity to donate a pair of his manky old boots to an Egyptian charity auction during a TV interview, before sitting back and expecting the plaudits to come his way.

After his performance for Argentina in the 2014 World Cup final defeat to Germany, Messi has some experience of offending an entire nation. But hanging about the halfway line looking bored for 120 minutes is nothing compared to the whirlwind he has reaped this week, after it escaped his notice that, in Egypt, shoes can be seen as a symbol of disrespect.

“Whose shoes do you want to sell, Messi? How much do you think it will get? You don’t know that the nail of a baby Egyptian is worth more than your shoes? Keep your shoes to yourself,” said, erm, Said Hasasin - an MP and television presenter - as an excited Cristiano Ronaldo pulled up a pew and ordered a large popcorn.

“Messi, we Egyptians are 90 million people who have pride, we have shoes. We don’t eat off the money of other peoples’ shoes. I would have understood if he donated his Barcelona uniform to the Egyptians, it’s accepted. But just the shoes? It’s humiliating to all Egyptians and I do not accept this humiliation. Egyptians may not find food, but they have pride.

“We Egyptians have never been humiliated before during our 7,000 years of civilisation,” added Hasasin, conveniently forgetting their sleep-inducing 0-0 draw with the Republic of Ireland at Italia ‘90.

Wait and see - next he’ll be sending a signed shirt and football to a young Afghan boy pictured wearing a blue and white striped plastic bag with ‘Messi’ on the back. The swine.



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