USA

Messi charity match to go ahead

Share This Story

   
 

Lionel Messi's charity game at Soldier Field will go on, though its star-studded lineup has lost some of its luster.

HEAR US OUT!

FOX Soccer's Blog offers unique coverage of the world game. Join us.

The 'Messi and Friends' charity game will be played Saturday night, three days after the four-time Ballon D'Or winner was to have played a similar all-star match in Los Angeles. That game was canceled Tuesday night in a dispute with promoters. The Chicago game is put on by a different organization, Miami-based Numero 5.

"We're here to meet our part of the bargain. That's why our game was not canceled," Ada Linares, the event's project manager, said, adding there was "never" a thought of not playing Saturday night's game.

But the lineup won't be nearly as impressive as what fans were originally promised when tickets - some as high as $2,500 - went on sale.

The match was supposed to feature 36 international stars, including Messi's Barcelona teammate Cesc Fabregas; Chelsea defender David Luiz; Mexico's Giovani dos Santos; and Robert Lewandowski, who scored all four goals in Borussia Dortmund's 4-1 victory over Real Madrid in the Champions League semifinals. But most of the big names have dropped out, and four former Northwestern players had to be added to the roster simply to be able to stage the game.

Thierry Henry is still scheduled to play, and Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar, Barcelona's Javier Mascherano and France's Florent Malouda were late adds to the lineup.

"We're definitely here not to disappoint anyone. We've tried to bring the best in the world. Unfortunately, lineups are subject to change," Linares said. "We have tried to meet the rosters, and sometimes some of the players have personal agendas that they decide they want to do. ... If their team says, 'You've got to come back,' we have nothing that we can do."

About 25,000 tickets have been sold for the event, which is to benefit the Leo Messi Foundation for sick and at-risk children in his native Argentina.

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by

SOCCER Videos

USA gearing up for 2015 Women's World Cup Posted: Jul 12, 2014
Eric Wynalda previews what's in the store for USA in the 2015 Women's World Cup ...

Breaking down the best MLS rivalries Posted: Jul 12, 2014
Eric Wynalda speaks on the best MLS rivalries and NYCFC's impact on the league.

Should young MLS stars develop abroad? Posted: Jul 12, 2014
Eric Wynalda discusses what's next for young USA players like Matt Besler and De...

Will MLS become a world class soccer league? Posted: Jul 12, 2014
Eric Wynalda talks about the future of MLS as a world class soccer league and ho...

2026 World Cup coming to USA? Posted: Jul 07, 2014
Cobi Jones looks at the possibility of the World Cup coming to the USA in 2026.