Lionel Messi’s visit to China, after six years, has generated anticipation for a significant rush for tickets as Argentina faces Australia in a friendly match in Beijing next month.
Messi will visit China for the first time since 2017 when Argentina plays Australia on June 15, according to the Argentine consulate there.
It will be the 35-year-old’s seventh trip to China, and it takes place at a time when there is a lot of conjecture about his future with Paris Saint-Germain. According to a source close to the player, Al-Hilal in Saudi Arabia has made him a formal offer to sign him for the upcoming campaign.
Messi has received a fervent welcome on each of his previous visits to China, which has a huge football fan base despite the struggles of the men’s national team.
Since his first China trip in 2005, Messi has played for Argentina or his former club Barcelona in friendlies. The Spanish side beat Beijing Guoan 3-0 in a friendly in 2010.
News of the match where Argentina faces Australia quickly went viral on Chinese social media, with many fans voicing eagerness to watch the game.
“If I can get a ticket, I wouldn’t mind not having a girlfriend for a whole year,” one fan quipped on social media.