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Lionel Messi ditches his own charity match early

Jul 6, 2013, 10:18 PM EST

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.

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