Football Stars Duke it Out in Lima for Messi Charity

The so-called “duel of the giants” generated lots of hype in the Peruvian capital of Lima, with the visit of Argentinian football star Lionel Messi for a charity match with great international football figures.

The match, held on Tuesday, July 2, 2013 at Estadio Nacional in Lima, pitted “Messi and his friends” against the “rest of the world”. The match benefited Leo Messi Foundation, which protects at-risk children and teenagers. The foundation will assign part of the proceeds to a Peruvian social assistance program.

The final result was a victory for Messi's team, with eight goals, while the “rest of the world” had five.

In a country like Peru, where people are passionate about football, the arrival of Messi and other well-known football players did not go unnoticed.

Leonel Messi. Foto del usuario de Flick (CC

Lionel Messi. Photo by Flickr user prettyfriendship (CC BY-SA 2.0).

As early as May, two months prior to match, blog 24/siete wondered “What if I save my money to go see Messi and his friends? [es]“, and compared prices of tickets for the Brazil 2014 World Cup qualifying match between Peru and Ecuador and the prices for the match with the Argentinian player:

[…] A ver, vamos por partes. La entrada más cara para ver a Perú cuesta 500 soles [unos US$ 180], y la más barata 80 soles [unos US$ 28]. Para ver a Lionel Messi y sus amigos, este 2 de julio en el Estadio Nacional, la más cara US$ 250 y la más barata, US$ 70.
Es cierto que es casi tres veces más el costo, pero se trata de Messi, el mejor jugador del mundo, y con una constelación de estrellas que solo vemos por cable, y que va a ser difícil que vuelvan a reunirse nuevamente en el Perú.

[…] Let's see it step by step. The most expensive ticket to see Peru costs 500 soles [about 180 US dollars], and the cheapest one 80 soles [about 28 US dollars]. To see Lionel Messi and his friends on July 2 at the Estadio Nacional, the most expensive costs 250 US dollars and the cheapest one 70 US dollars.
It's true it's about three times the price, but this is Messi we are talking about, the best player in the world, and with a constellation of stars we only watch on cable who will unlikely be together again in Peru.

The website Agencia de noticias Carpressica [es] reported that Messi arrived in Lima [es] in his private plane and gave details about the team's lineup [es]:

El equipo de “Messi y sus amigos”, estará dirigido por Fabio Capello [y] conformado por Leo Messi “Pulga” quien tendrá la 10; Fernando Muslera; Dani Alves, Javier Mascherano, Martín Demicheli y Eric Abidal; Sergio Busquets, Marek Hamsik, Pablo Aymar y Edinson Cavani; Lionel Messi y Ezequiel Lavezzi.

Mientras que el cuadro del “Resto del Mundo”, será dirigido por Zico, la oncena inicial será con Júlio César; Paolo Cannavaro, Marco Materazzi, Mario Yépes y Emiliano Insúa; Florent Maloudá, Juan Vargas, Jefferson Farfán y Julio Baptista; Neymar y Pablo Osvaldo.

The team “Messi and his friends” will be coached by Fabio Capello [and] will be formed by Leo Messi “Pulga” [Flea] who will be wearing number 10 jersey; Fernando Muslera; Dani Alves, Javier Mascherano, Martín Demicheli and Eric Abidal; Sergio Busquets, Marek Hamsik, Pablo Aymar and Edinson Cavani; Lionel Messi and Ezequiel Lavezzi.

Meanwhile, the team “rest of the world” will be coached by Zico, the initial team will go with Júlio César; Paolo Cannavaro, Marco Materazzi, Mario Yépes and Emiliano Insúa; Florent Maloudá, Juan Vargas, Jefferson Farfán and Julio Baptista; Neymar and Pablo Osvaldo.

On a more sour note, Herberthcastroinfantas's blog [es] referred to the accusation of tax evasion [es] that Lionel Messi is currently facing:

Lionel Messi […] y su padre Jorge Horacio fueron denunciados por evadir impuestos hasta por un monto de 4 millones de euros, algo más de 5.3 millones de dólares, que no fueron depositados en el fisco español. Y si el juicio por fraude prospera tendrán que afrontar hasta 4 años de prisión. Caso contrario, si se arregla por la vía administrativa considerando que Messi no tiene antecedentes, tendrá que pagar además del monto defraudado que asciende a 4 millones de euros, una multa de 20 millones.


No cabe duda que, con esta mala noticia, la figura de la máxima estrella del Barcelona Fútbol Club ha sido mellada.

Lionel Messi […] and his father Jorge Horacio were accused of evading taxes of up to four million euros, more than 5.3 million dollars, not deposited in the Spanish treasury. And if this fraud trial goes ahead, they will be facing up to four years in prison. Otherwise, if this gets settled through the administrative route, considering Messi has no prior record, he will have to pay, besides the evaded amount of more than four million euros, a 20-million-euro fine.


There is no doubt, with this bad news, the figure of Barcelona Football Club's shining star has been damaged.

In spite of the tax problems faced by the Pulga, as he is known, Peruvian Twitter users were up-to-date with his visit to the country with the hashtags #MessiEnLima [Messi in Lima], #DuelodeGigantes [duel of the giants] and #Messi.

Twitter user Alejandra Castillo (@alecastiCP) praised the football player:

@alecastiCP: Ala [wow] Messi parece ser un buen tipo, se le ve muy sencillo y humilde, eso hace grande a los famosos #MessiEnLima

@alecastiCP [es]: Wow, Messi seems to be a nice guy, he looks very unassuming, humble, this makes famous people great #MessiEnLima

Joe Olivas Panizo (@jolivp) made reference to current issues that appear in the news headlines, not necessarily for good reasons:

@jolivp: De pronto #MessienLima y atrás quedaron #narcoindultos, donaciones proselitistas, andahuaylazo, y demas hierbas.

@jolivp: All of a sudden, #MessienLima and no more #narcoindultos [narco pardons], proselytist donations, andahuaylazo [es] et al.

Meanwhile, Coco Esteves (@psicosour) was concerned about security issues:

@psicosour: Y el resto de la ciudad abandonada. RT @Capital967: Más de 2000 policías para seguridad de #MessienLima

@psicosour [es]: And the rest of the city is abandoned. RT @Capital967: More than 2,000 police agents for security at #MessienLima

Terra Deportes (@TerraDeportesES) gave a brief recount:

@TerraDeportesES: Messi derrota a Neymar en su primer partido desde que son compañeros, pero era por una buena causa  #DuelodeGigantes

@TerraDeportesES [es]: Messi defeats Neymar for the first time since they are teammates, but this one was for a good cause  #DuelodeGigantes

After the match, (@deporpe) noted:

@deporpe: Lionel Messi y Neymar regalaron magia en el Estadio Nacional. (FOTOS) #MessienLima

@deporpe: Lionel Messi and Neymar gave away magic at the Estadio Nacional. (PHOTOS) #MessienLima

Local station Radio Capital (@Capital967) reported:

@Capital967: #Messi abandonó molesto el Estadio Nacional antes de terminar el #DuelodeGigantes

@Capital967 [es]: #Messi left Estadio Nacional angry before ending #DuelodeGigantes

As it was reported, following orders given by Italian coach Fabio Capello, familiy members of the players had to be removed from the substitute bench. Among them were two brothers of the Pulga, Brazilian Neymar's dad and Colombian Mario Yepes’ children. During the second part of the match, Messi noticed the incident and asked to be subbed out of play. After leaving the field, he met with his brothers and left the stadium very upset.

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