Lionel Messi is hitting the news again. And this time it’s not a trophy earning him the headlines, it is a friendly match. Who would have thought a friendly match can attract headline seeking controversy? But yes it has. Argentina called off the friendly match with Israel. This match was scheduled to take place on Saturday, 9th June.
The Israeli embassy gave their statement in this reference.
“The Israeli embassy is sad to announce the suspension of the match between the Israel and Argentina national teams scheduled for Saturday 9 June, as a warm-up game for the Russia World Cup.”
La Embajada de Israel lamenta comunicar la suspensión del partido entre los seleccionados de Israel y Argentina previsto para el próximo sábado 9 de junio, como antesala al juego por la Copa Mundial en Rusia.
Las amenazas y provocaciones dirigidas a Lionel Messi, que lógicamente pic.twitter.com/Z71FXx8pGN
— Israel en Argentina (@IsraelArgentina) June 6, 2018
Anger from Palestine
Avigdor Lieberman, Israeli Defense Minister, said that cancelling games shows Argentina has surrendered to hateful remarks from the Palestinian community.
Palestinian rights supporters deliver thank you note to @Argentina for canceling "friendly" with Israel at hotel in Barcelona, remember Palestinians killed by Israel in Gaza, urge @FIFAcom to #RedCardIsrael over violations of Palestinian rights. #WorldCup #GreatReturnMarch pic.twitter.com/SV4gJWmu3e
— PACBI (@PACBI) June 7, 2018
Furthermore, Leiberman publicly shared his views on Twitter.
“It’s a shame that Argentina’s footballing nobility did not withstand the pressure from Israeli-hating inciters.”
On the other hand, Fadi Quran, the organizer of campaign against this match claimed that this cancellation of match is a symbol of sympathy. Moreover, it shows Argentina supports Palestine.
Fadi is not willing to let go of this win
“We believe the main reason this game was canceled was that the Argentinian team got the facts”
Fadi did not let the Israeli government take a low blow on this.
“The decision was made as a moral and ethical stance. I think it is an Israeli spin to try and frame it as being due to threats.”
— Fadi Quran (@fadiquran) June 5, 2018
Palestinian Football Community
In addition to above, Palestinian Football Community stated
“Lionel Messi is a “symbol of peace and love” and the match was being used as a political tool.”
The Palestinian Football Association (PFA) also welcomed the decision. Moreover, they went a step ahead and thanked Lionel Messi. Messi had become the focus of campaigners’ efforts to stop the match.
Jibril Rajoub, the president of the PFA, is also not letting this win of Palestine go down in bad reputation. Rijoub gave out a statement:
“Values, morals and sport have secured a victory today and a red card was raised at Israel through the cancellation of the game.”
Thank you! @Argentina cancels "friendly" match with Israel. #ArgentinaNotGoing! Striker Gonzalo "Pipa" Higuaín says, "Not going was the right thing to do." Good luck at the #WorldCup. pic.twitter.com/CBwtEKWVj2
— PACBI (@PACBI) June 5, 2018
Israel is blaming Argentina for the cancellation while Palestinians are rejoicing over it. Argentina is gloomy because this match was a preparation for the World Cup 2018. But in all this, fans of the star player Lionel Messi, are suffering because they were hoping to see him.
Lionel Messi is Still a Hero
In all this chaotic situation, fans are still supporting and showing their love for their player. Lionel Messi gave a statement:
“As a Unicef ambassador I cannot play against people (Israel) who kill innocent Palestinian children.We had to cancel the game because we are humans before footballers.”
Fans have gone head over heels over Messi’s statement.
“As a #UNICEF ambassador I cannot play against people (Israel) who kill innocent Palestinian children.We had to cancel the game because we are humans before footballers.”#LionelMessi pic.twitter.com/Ujl36BfHzo
— Fouzia Bhatti (@BhattiFouzia) June 6, 2018
— Saira Shah Halim سائرہ 🇮🇳 (@sairashahhalim) June 6, 2018
People throughout the world are showering Messi with Love
This is Humanity 👇
The game between Argentina and Israel was cancelled when Lionel Messi refused to go there and said he is a human before a footballer. All the financial losses due to cancellation of game will be accommodated by the Argentine forward Messi.👏👏#LionelMessi💕 pic.twitter.com/2BSy99DWGA
— Rida Zahid (@DR_RJ14) June 6, 2018
Fans show their love via amazing caricature skills
Argentina says NO to ❌Israel❌
— iida abidin (@iida3105) June 6, 2018
— سمير احمد شيخ ✹ (@sameerahmedshk3) June 7, 2018
Nevertheless, fans are divided over who to blame for the cancellation. While the Israelis and Palestinians continue with their bashing, the fans of Lionel Messi are disappointed. Not only they lost a chance to see an action packed match, they also missed out on a chance to see their favorite player in action.