The Argentina legend will have one last crack at winning his long-awaited first World Cup trophy in Qatar, but that hasn’t stopped Mexicans from trying to ban him from the next tournament. Leo Messi could be banned from entering Mexico following a politician-backed campaign to bar him from the next World Cup.
The Argentina captain and talisman, 35, dragged his side to a 2-0 group stage victory over Mexico earlier in the tournament. He scored the opening goal to earn his country three crucial points, but it was his actions during the celebrations afterwards that have sparked the fury of Mexicans.
Messi was seen flicking a Mexico shirt he’d swapped with a player with his foot as he tried to take off his boots in the dressing room. But the seemingly innocuous act has resulted in some heavy backlash.
Boxer Canelo Alvarez kicked-off the bitter row by threatening the Argentina superstar. He tweeted after the game: “Did you guys see Messi cleaning the floor with our jersey and flag. He better pray to God that I don’t find him.
“Just like I respect Argentina, he has to respect Mexico! I’m not talking about the country as a whole, just about the bulls*** that Messi did.”
Despite Canelo since apologising, politician Maria Clemente Garcia Moreno has upped the ante by leading calls to have Messi barred from stepping foot in Mexico, with the nation set to host the tournament in four years’ time. She cited the diminutive number-10’s actions as showing “contempt” and a “lack of respect towards Mexico”.
A legal document calling for an entry ban reads: “The Chamber of Deputies of the Honorable Congress of the Union respectfully urges the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to issue the corresponding Declaration in order to declare persona non grata within of the territory of the United Mexican States to the citizen of Argentine and Spanish nationality, Lionel Andres Messi Cuccitini, due to his manifest contempt and lack of respect towards Mexico during the World Cup of the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) on Saturday, November 26, 2022.”
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