Messi’s charity match in Chicago loses its luster
Lionel Messi’s charity match at Chicago’s Soldier Field has lost
some of its star-studded luster.
The ”Messi and Friends” match, to be played Saturday night,
was originally supposed to feature 36 international stars,
including Messi’s Barcelona teammate Cesc Fabregas, Mexico
midfielder Giovani dos Santos and Polish striker 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
American collegiate players had to be added to the roster simply to
be able to stage the game.
Former France and Arsenal striker Thierry Henry is still
scheduled to play, while Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar, France
midfielder Florent Malouda, and Messi’s Barcelona and Argentina
teammate Javier Mascherano were late additions to the lineup.
About 25,000 tickets have been sold for the match, which is to
benefit the Leo Messi Foundation for sick and at-risk children in
”We’re definitely here not to disappoint anyone. We’ve tried to
bring the best in the world. Unfortunately, lineups are subject to
change,” said Ada Linares, the match’s project manager.
”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 do.”
Messi was to have had a second charity match Wednesday in Los
Angeles, but it was canceled in a dispute with promoters.