Lionel Messi was stopped by Chinese border control over the weekend after travelling with the incorrect passport.
Messi flew into Beijing with his “bodyguard” and a number of friends including international team-mate Angel Di Maria ahead of Argentina’s friendly with Australia on Thursday.
However, as he arrived in China’s capital he was confronted by border officials who were not happy with the passport he was using.
According to the Chinese media, the issue arose due to Messi travelling with his Spanish passport instead of his Argentinian one.
The 35-year-old is believed to have used his Spanish passport due to thinking Taiwan was part of China, and he was reportedly heard asking the border officials: ‘Is Taiwan not China?’
Having informed the border officials that he did not have his Argentinian passport on him, it then reportedly took two hours for the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner to be granted a visa so that he could resolve the issue and leave the airport.
Messi’s passport woes come fresh off the back of his huge announcement about his next career move.
He revealed last week that he will be joining David Beckham’s Inter Miami when his PSG contract expires at the end of the month after snubbing the chance to play for Al Hilal in Saudi Arabia and a return to his old club Barcelona.
Al Hilal were reportedly furious at Messi opting to move to Inter Miami, having had a private jet in Paris ready to take him to Riyadh.
Barcelona also struggled to hide their disappointment at Messi rejecting a homecoming, claiming the forward had chosen to move to the US to play under ‘less pressure’.
Despite seemingly bringing the curtain down on his time in Europe, Messi is still the bookies’ favourite to win his eighth Ballon d’Or this year ahead of Erling Haaland, even after the Norwegian striker won the Treble with Manchester City.
Messi is expected to join up with his new Inter Miami team-mates in July after taking a short break following Argentina’s next two friendlies against Australia and Indonesia in the coming days.
He is now free to play in China later this week after his passport mishap, and has fond memories of the country after winning an Olympic gold medal with Argentina in Beijing back in 2008.