Messi’s all-star game in Chicago will go on
Lionel Messi’s charity game at Soldier Field will go on, though
its star-studded lineup has lost some of its luster.
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
”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
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
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, at the end of the day
says, `You’ve got to come back,’ we have nothing that we can
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.