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.
“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.
A tale of contrasts: Lionel Messi in Africa, Lionel Messi in Europe… pic.twitter.com/dXvJj3Tb3C
— Dibussi Tande (@dibussi) July 19, 2015
Lionel Messi is spending his sumer holiday being driven through the streets of Gabon by the country’s president… pic.twitter.com/xyENgVQR4w
— FourFourTweet (@FourFourTweet) July 19, 2015