Lionel Messi, a forward for FC Barcelona, is one of the most famous athletes on the planet.
His face is seen on many brands worldwide, including Adidas, which pays him $3.3 million annually for wearing their shoes. Every once in awhile, he does interviews, as athletes often do.
Unfortunately, during a recent interview on the “Yes I am Famous” broadcast on Egyptian MBC’s Misr Channel, Messi did something charitable and gained some jeers for it.
There he is, the dazzling footballer sitting in front of Mona El-Sharkawy, host of the show, when he did what most denizens of Earth would consider a very kind gesture — he gave her his cleats for an auction she was holding for a charity.
What he didn’t know was that many Egyptians consider handing someone a pair of shoes a malicious insult. Remember this with our previous president?
That’s Bush 41 and there goes a pair of loafers headed right for his grill. So you can imagine when some notable Argentinian footballer hands two cleats to a female, Egyptians freaked out.
“This is the most disgusting. He was paid thousands of dollars and at the end he donated his shoes and the stupid presenter was happy,” tweeted one user called @Sala77ar7ash.
Another user called @sulimanahmad670 commented: “Egypt’s name is greater than Messi’s shoes. This is a big insult to Egypt,” wrote @sulimanahmad670.
“Wake up Arabs and smell the coffee. No time for sleeping. She [the presenter] should have refused this insignificant donation,” tweeted @awatifalqaisey.
According to an article on the BBC:
In response to the perceived insult, Egyptian MP Said Hasasin who presents a programme called “Infirad” (Exclusive) on private Al-Asimah TV, went so far as to take off his shoes on air saying he would donate them to Messi.
It’s clear in the interview that Messi had nothing but the best of intentions, but unfortunately, people love being offended and could care less about what he meant and just focused on what he did.