Fans warned against ‘drink with Messi for $42,000’ scam

Messi was also suspended during the second half of the season with PSG | IMAGO

FOOTBALL: Fans warned against ‘drink with Messi for $42,000’ scam

Kiplagat Sang 07:00 - 12.06.2023

The iconic footballer is in China ahead of Argentina’s friendly match against Australia.

Chinese police have warned the public about possible scams surrounding Lionel Messi’s visit.

The football legend is in Beijing ahead of Argentina’s match against Australia on Thursday, and this has drawn scammers and ticket scalpers hoping to capitalize on the Messi mania.

There is a widely circulated advertisement that promises an evening with the former Barcelona and PSG superstar that will cost 300,000 yuan ($42,000).

Internal stadium passes for 5,000 yuan and a tailored VIP package including an autographed jersey, front-row seats, and a photo with Messi for over 8,000 yuan are other possible plans to scam the public, as reported by AFP.

‘For 50 million yuan, Messi will appear on your shopping livestream to extol the virtues of your product’ another unauthorized advertisement stated.

Just like he is popular in other parts of the world, Messi enjoys a huge following in China, and his presence has created a joyful environment. The tickets for the game, ranging from 580 to 4,800 yuan, have been quickly sold out.

According to AFP, hundreds of people waited outside the Argentina team hotel in central Beijing on Saturday, with the hopes of catching a glimpse of Messi after failing to secure match tickets.

Messi has been in China since Saturday and will lead the World Champions against Australia at Beijing's newly renovated 68,000-capacity Workers' Stadium.

The two nations met at the Qatar World Cup in the Round of 16, and the South Americans won by a 2-1 margin as they went on to win the tournament eventually.