Footballer Lionel Messi, who enjoys immense popularity in China, arrived in Beijing on Saturday by private jet for a friendly match, where the winner of the World Cup with Argentina was greeted by jubilant fans. “Messi! Messi! “, chanted several hundred supporters who were waiting for him at the airport, wearing the blue and white striped jersey of No.10 Albiceleste, according to viral images published on social networks.
Several hundred others waited in front of his hotel, not far from the banks of the Liangma River, very popular with Beijingers for walks. The supporters, calm and rather reserved at first, suddenly shouted the name of their idol in chorus when they thought they saw Lionel Messi’s bus, AFP noted.
The world champion’s arrival in China was the most discussed topic on the Weibo social network at midday. “I absolutely want to see Messi! “wrote a user in tune with other comments.
“I still feel the emotions of the match which dedicated Argentina to the World Cup”, underlined another in reference to the victory of the Albiceleste after a legendary final against France in December. This is Lionel Messi’s 7th trip to China, the last was in 2017, according to local media.
World champion Argentina will play a friendly match against Australia on June 15 at the newly renovated Workers’ Stadium in Beijing with a capacity of 68,000. spectators. There meeting will mark the great return of international football in China, after three years of health restrictions which have emptied the stadiums and led to a cascade of cancellations of sports competitions.
The shock will be a rematch of the round of 16 of the World Cup organized in Qatar at the end of 2022, where Argentina won 2-1 against the Socceroos.
Lionel Messi, who chose to leave Paris Saint-Germain to pursue his career at Inter Miami, will also play another friendly match, against Indonesia in Jakarta on June 19, as part of this Asian tour.