A young Chinese man wearing an Argentine jersey says it was worth it after he was given a one-year ban after he ran onto the pitch and hugged Messi.
Chinese Fan Says One Year Ban From Stadium Worth It After Hug With Messi pic.twitter.com/LEmpXVECkq— NewsX (@newsx_media) June 20, 2023
The incident happened in the 61st minute of the friendly match between Argentina and Australia in the Chinese capital city of Beijing, on Thursday, 15th June.
The 18-year-old fan – surnamed Di – then ran around the field, high-fiving Argentine goalkeeper Sergio Romero before being tackled by security.
He fell to the ground as several security guards there carried him off the field.
The young man later explained that he was so eager to meet Messi that he had, on the spur of the moment, jumped from the stands onto the field.
He admitted that his behaviour was wrong and apologized for his actions but said he nevertheless felt the chance to hug his idol made it worthwhile.
“I just wanted to give (Messi) a hug and give him a sense of the enthusiasm from us Chinese fans,” Di told news media, adding that he has been a Messi fan since 2014.
On Friday evening, the Chaoyang Public Security Bureau in Beijing said that Di was under administrative detention and has been handed a 12 months stadium ban.
“Every game has its rules. Violation of these rules will lead to the referee’s punishment,” the announcement said.
Other viral videos show Di being welcomed back to the stands by fans taking selfies with him, suggesting that he was quickly released by stadium security.
The match ended in a 2-0 win for the reigning world champions, with Messi scoring his fastest-ever international goal within 80 seconds of kickoff.