Reports from Egypt claim television presenters, a Member of Parliament and the Egyptian Football Association spokesman were outraged by Messi’s shoe donation during a television interview.
According to ahramonline, the Barcelona forward has caused widespread controversy in Egypt after donating his shoes to charity during a television interview.
The 28-year-old star requested to put his shoes on auction and donate the revenue for charity in an interview for a new show called ‘Yes, I am famous’ broadcasted Saturday on Saudi channel MBC Masr, that mainly targets an Egyptian audience.
Messi’s gesture which was taken as an insult was heavily attacked by some Egyptian TV presenters and known guests.
“We [Egyptians] have never been humiliated during our seven thousand years of civilization… I will hit you with the shoes, Messi.
“This is my shoe, [he took off his shoe on air] I donate it to Argentina.” Controversial parliament member and TV presenter Said Hasasin said on Sunday during his evening talk show.
The Egyptian Football Association spokesman Azmy Megahed echoed Hasasin during a phone call to Hasasin’s program saying “Our poor don’t need him. Shoes work for him.”
“I am confused, if he intends to humiliate us, then I say he better put these shoes on his head and on the heads of the people supporting him. We don’t need his shoes and we don’t need charity from Jewish or Israeli people. Give your shoes to your country, Argentina is full of poverty” Megahed angrily said.
On the other hand, some defended the gesture and Messi’s intention, explaining that it’s so kind of Messi to give away “the most precious thing he has.”
“The most precious thing the writer owns is his pen… and the most precious thing the footballer owns is his shoes. I hope we stop the false accusations,” former Tottenham Hotspur and Egypt striker Ahmed ‘Mido’ Hossam tweeted.
For her side, Messi’s interviewer on the show Mona El-Sharkawy denied mentioning Egypt in the donation and insisted she only said charity.
“This is so false. It’s a trend on our show that we take a souvenir from our guest and put it on auction for charity,” Sharkawy stated in a phone call with another TV programme explaining the matter.
“I am surprised; I didn’t say we will be giving it to charity in Egypt or any other place. I don’t know why they said he is presenting it to Egypt. This was never said,” she concluded.