Lionel Messi ended up in hot water with Chinese border guards after he was stopped because he was using his Spanish passport instead of his Argentinian one.
Messi arrived in Beijing by private jet accompanied by his “bodyguard” DePaul and well-known stars Di Maria, Enzo and Paredes on 10th June.
He was travelling to the country to join his country’s national team camp in preparation for the friendly match against Australia when he was stopped over the weekend.
Social media users shared a video of him surrounded by police officers and he can be seen holding his passport while talking to colleagues.
Local media reported that the problem had been that he had used his Spanish passport instead of his Argentinian one.
Many local news sources said that he had believed that the fact he could travel to Taiwan on his Spanish passport meant that it was valid for China, and was quoted as saying: “Is Taiwan not China?”
They also added that he did not have his Argentinian passport with him, which confused local border guards.
It was reported that he was delayed for two hours before finally being granted visa and let through after the problem was resolved.
It was Messi’s seventh personal visit to China. Among his six previous trips to China, there was the 2008 Beijing Olympic football final. At that time, Messi was only 21 years old and helped the Argentine men’s football team win the Olympic gold medal.
The Argentina national team is set to play against Australia in a friendly match on Thursday, 15th June, before then travelling to face Indonesia at home on 19th June.
He is then reported to be taking a break before joining his new club Inter Miami in July.