Lionel Messi was stopped by Chinese border control over the weekend after travelling with a wrong passport.
The Argentine superstar 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.
However, Messi’s weekend ordeal did not end there as he was then temporarily ‘trapped’ in his Beijing hotel along with his Argentina team-mates after a large number of fans gathered outside to meet him.
Hundreds of fans tried to get into the hotel’s main entrance, while one huge Messi fan spent over 10,000 yuan (£1120) on rooms in order to see his idol.
The commotion led to Argentina’s training session on Sunday being delayed for safety reasons as it was impossible for the players to leave the hotel, but they were able to train later in the day.