We don’t want no Messi boots, say Egyptians

Messi in a mess, thanks to his boots Images credit: Goal.com

When in Rome, do as the Romans do. The same applies when in Egypt, as international football star Messi found out the hard way earlier this week. A well intentioned action on the part of Messi didn’t go down too well with the locals, with some even calling it a national insult, and turning to social media to express their anger.

The well meaning Messi wanted to donate his football boots to be auctioned for charity. He was on a TV interview for an Egyptian TV programme when he expressed his interest and proceeded to hand over his boots to the interviewer Mona al-Sharqawi.

Messi wants to donate his boots Image courtesy: facebook
Messi wants to donate his boots
Image courtesy: facebook

The response to his gesture was far from what Messi would have expected. Several people took to Twitter citing Messi’s actions to be nothing short of an insult to Egypt. There were comments aimed at the “stupid presenter” who was happy at being given a pair of shoes when Messi had apparently been paid several thousands of dollars. His actions were termed as ‘disgusting’, and the presenter was criticized for having held his boots with her hands, instead of refusing Messi’s ‘insignificant donation’. The Egyptian Football Association too expressed indignation over the action, and the spokesperson remarked “give your shoes to your country, Argentina is full of poverty”.

Messy boots? Images courtesy: facebook
Messy boots?
Images courtesy: facebook

In the Arab culture, the shoe that adorns the lowest part of the body is considered dirty and insulting. What Messi intentioned to be a charitable act turned out to be perceived as insulting and disrespecting by the Egyptian public. This cultural variance that Messi obviously didn’t know about is what seems to have landed him in this soup. The displeasure wasn’t just limited to a few outrages on social media. Egyptian parliament member Said Hasasin said on a TV show that Egypt had never been humiliated in it’s seven thousand years of civilization, and that he would “hit you with the shoes, Messi”. He went on to hold up his shoe, which he said he was willing to donate to Argentina

Shoe for you, Messi Image courtesy: facebook
Shoe for you, Messi
Image courtesy: facebook

Looks like this will turn out to be one of the few instances the ace footballer might not have a tackle for!

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