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LIONEL MESSI THOUGHT CHINA & TAIWAN SAME, STOPPED AT CHINA AIRPORT FOR NOT HAVING VISA

Lionel Messi, one of the world’s greatest footballers, encountered an unexpected obstacle during his travel to China for Argentina’s national team friendly against Australia.

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The renowned player, who possesses both Spanish and Argentine passports, mistakenly carried only his Spanish passport, assuming that the visa-free arrangement between Spain and Taiwan extended to China as well.

However, upon arrival at Beijing Capital Airport, he discovered that he lacked the necessary documents and was detained by Beijing Airport customs.

On the 11th of June, Lionel Messi and his entourage arrived at Beijing Capital Airport via a private jet. However, it soon became apparent that the footballer had neglected to bring his Argentine passport, leading to complications and subsequent delays.

A video circulating on social media captured the moment when Messi engaged in a conversation with a group of immigration police officers, highlighting the unexpected nature of the situation.

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Reports indicate that Messi erroneously believed his Spanish passport would grant him visa-free entry into China. The confusion arose from the fact that Spain’s passport allows visa-free access to Taiwan, leading Messi to assume that the same arrangement applied to China.

However, this assumption proved incorrect, and he found himself facing the consequences of not possessing the necessary documentation.

Taiwan & China’s visa differences

It is essential to understand the distinctions in visa requirements between Spain and Taiwan. Spanish citizens intending to visit China are typically required to apply for a visa beforehand.

On the other hand, Spanish citizens enjoy visa-free entry into Taiwan for a duration of up to 90 days. The confusion surrounding Messi’s situation stems from the complex relationship between China and Taiwan, with China considering Taiwan as part of its territory while Taiwan maintains its independent immigration laws.

After enduring a delay of approximately two hours, Lionel Messi was finally granted an expedited visa, allowing him to proceed with his trip.

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Messi’s Next Chapter

Beyond the passport mishap, Lionel Messi’s future career plans have attracted significant attention. The 36-year-old football star recently secured a Ligue 1 title with Paris Saint-Germain and has decided to leave the French club this summer upon the expiration of his contract.

He is set to join Inter Miami in the United States, turning down offers from his boyhood club, Barcelona, as well as Saudi Arabian club Al-Hilal.

He is set to earn up to US$150 million over two years, as well as owning a stake in the club, according to several media reports.

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