GABON: Messi mocked for scruffy appearance

Lionel Messi has been ridiculed for wearing ripped denim shorts and a t-shirt during a high-profile visit to Gabon.

The Barcelona star was asked to visit the West African state by the president as a symbolic gesture at the site of a new football stadium in the city of Port-Gentil.

The Argentina striker, who has won the Ballon d’Or four times in his career to mark his status as the best footballer in the world, arrived in torn denim shorts and a t-shirt to meet a delegation of officials.

Joined by former Barcelona star Deco, Messi lay the first stone on the construction site for the new stadium – something which president Ali Bongo was delighted to take credit for.

Lionel Messi lays the first stone at the construction site of a new stadium in Port-Gentil
Lionel Messi lays the first stone at the construction site of a new stadium in Port-Gentil – Eurosport

“When I was in Barcelona a few years ago, I met Messi who had told me that he would come to visit me in Libreville,” said President Bongo.

“It’s a promise he had made me and he is a man of honour, who just kept his word.”

While Messi’s appearance made him the figure of fun for many, there were some who felt it showed a poor attitude towards Gabon for what was a big event.

Lionel Messi leaves his hand print in cement at the construction site of a new soccer stadium in Port-Gentil, Gabon, July 18, 2015.