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Lionel Messi ditches his own charity match early

Jul 6, 2013, 10:18 PM EDT

Lionel Messi AP

It’s been a summer of PR nightmare after PR nightmare for Lionel Messi.

First, he made headlines when he was indicted by the Spanish government for evading taxes through laundering processes overseas.  The case was shadily ended with Messi proclaiming his innocence but paying up anyways.

Then, star players scheduled to play in his Chicago charity match dropped out in droves.  He was forced to cancel the follow-up match in Los Angeles.

Now, he apparently skipped town on the “Messi and Friends” game after being substituted off the match in the 70th minute.

There’s not a large amount of information on exactly when he left and what he missed, but from what’s been floating around, Messi skipped ESPN interviews as well as autograph signings for fans who paid for special (and expensive) meet and greet tickets. A few media members in attendance made their feelings known on Twitter.

Unfortunately 140 characters isn’t quite enough to get the full gist of what happened, but with a black cloud over the match already, one can’t help but wonder what the new issue is now, especially this stunt at an event to benefit his own charity.

There was one spectacular moment to take away from Soldier Field.  Northwestern alum Matt Eliason scored a ridiculous goal, chesting the ball down to himself before unleashing a bicycle kick that would have made Messi himself proud.

Watch the goal here.

  1. mrsingh24 - Jul 6, 2013 at 11:59 PM

    How is Lalas on tv?

  2. mrpowers88 - Jul 7, 2013 at 12:22 AM

    Soldier Field is notorious for having some bad turf, cant help but think that some something to do with it

    • bluwahoo - Jul 7, 2013 at 4:45 PM

      He blew off those who paid $2,000 a pop to see him after the game because the pitch persecuted his style of play? Seems legit to me.

  3. jamesdingos - Jul 7, 2013 at 6:51 AM

    it’s soccer? who cares? nobody in Chicago or the U.S., that’s who. Want proof? This event got zero coverage in Chicago. None. A town that’s crazy about sports. Well…all sports except soccer, that is.

    • starybyk3 - Jul 7, 2013 at 9:39 AM

      OK, you don’t care about soccer, jamesdingos, good for you. But don’t lie when you say the event got zero coverage in Chicago. Just Google “Messi Chicago” and you get multiple citations of stories that appeared in the Chicago media. In fact, Page 3 of the Sports section of the July 7 Chicago Tribune has a big story about the game, as well as three other soccer stories.

  4. bellerophon30 - Jul 7, 2013 at 7:58 AM

    You hope that he had a good reason, but………..sometimes great athletes are just that, great athletes, and nothing more. Meet Lionel Messi.

    • skidmose - Jul 7, 2013 at 11:03 AM

      I thought Messi was truly a good man as well as the best player on the planet. However, this incident coupled with trying to avoid paying taxes on his huge salary have tarnished his image. I am threw with Messi after this – not that he gives a damn! He’s a magician on the pitch but appears to be nothing more than another spoiled rich kid off it. What a shame.

      • bellerophon30 - Jul 7, 2013 at 11:14 AM

        I know what you mean, I’m suddenly less sad that my cable package doesn’t include beIN Sports (US home of La Liga). Add in C. Ronaldo (classic narcissist), Wayne Rooney (I’d get carpal tunnel typing his faults), Zlatan (DIVA), etc………..I mean what superstar is there to root for? Maybe all that money and fame really does bad things to people.

  5. navyeoddavee9 - Jul 7, 2013 at 10:17 AM

    jamesdingos, if you don’t care, why are you trolling?

  6. randomhookup - Jul 7, 2013 at 11:31 AM

    The LA event wasn’t a “follow-up” event. It was scheduled for July 3rd.

  7. 2muchjoy - Jul 7, 2013 at 3:42 PM

    There was some altercation between Messi’s security and the stadium security just a couple of minutes before Messi left the game. It happened just north of the benches, you could even see it on ESPN as a bunch of guys in red drag a guy off the field. It would be nice if someone could get an official statement about what happened.

  8. kroki22 - Jul 8, 2013 at 2:53 AM

    Why People want to ruin Messi’s reputation? Stupid article!

  9. donjuan2oo6 - Jul 9, 2013 at 2:51 AM

    what a MESSI situation…

  10. xshirleyx - Jul 9, 2013 at 3:26 PM

    everyone keeps talking about how pathetic it is that Messi left his own Charity event early. There was an incident that happened after the second fan ran on the field and nearly tackled Messi after he scored which led to Messi’s brothers threatening and thus subbing out their brother. I was standing next to the bench & I speak spanish. Messi’s 2 brothers, Matias & Rodrigo were there with Lionel’s personal bodyguard.

    After the second fan ran on the field, Lionel Messi’s bodyguard went to one of the Soldier Field security guards and basically yelled at him about the lack of security for the players. Obviously the security guard told him to calm down and that they were doing their best (if that was their best that was pathetic) after a few more minutes of yelling and things escalating, 6 other (huge) Soldier Field security guys came and they all grabbed Messi’s bodyguard and were ejecting him from the stadium. Matias & Rodrigo Messi were yelling at the security guards to let him go & they were showing security their passes. They ran to someone who I’m supposing is from Numero 5, and threatened that if they didn’t let go of the bodyguard they would sub out Lionel & Lavezzi and that they would leave immediately. After a few moments of complete chaos and nothing happened, Matias ran over to the bench and told them to “take Leo off the field immediately. We’re leaving”

    Lionel & Lavezzi came off and were escorted by a team of security, production and others then they left. That is what happened. I regret not having recorded the incident, at first i thought the bodyguard was another random fan attempting to run on the field.

    • jimeejohnson - Jul 17, 2013 at 1:59 PM

      That was Laverne and Shirley.

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