Lionel Messi was recently stopped from entering China ahead of a friendly Thursday match in Beijing due to a passport mishap.
Key details: Messi, 35, arrived at Beijing Capital Airport with friends and security personnel via a private jet on Sunday.
They reportedly experienced an issue after passport control noticed that the athlete, who has both a Spanish passport and an Argentinian passport, was trying to use the former to enter China.
Messi, the captain of the Argentine men’s national football team, did not have his Argentinian passport with him at the time despite currently playing for his home country.
What happened: A video of the incident circulating online shows Messi being surrounded by airport police as he holds his passport and speaks to them about the issue.
Believing that he could travel to China without a visa, Messi allegedly asked, “Is Taiwan not China?”
Visa requirements: Spanish citizens looking to travel to China may have to apply for a visa before they can enter the country. Meanwhile, Spanish citizens traveling to Taiwan do not need to apply for a visa if their trip will last for less than 90 days.
The aftermath: Messi was eventually let through Beijing Capital Airport and issued an expedited visa after a two-hour hiccup. The recent trip was reportedly the football star’s seventh visit to China.
What people are saying: Some Reddit users on subreddit r/worldnews found the situation hilarious, with one user writing, “Who would’ve thought it’d be Messi that points out the hypocrisy of the CCP’s One China policy?”