International Soccer

Diminished roster of stars set to join Messi in Chicago charity match

LionelMessi (Reuters)


The final stop of Lionel Messi’s charity all-star match tour appears ready to be played, though it wouldn’t have as many stars as originally planned.

In the wake of Wednesday’s cancellation of an Messi-led exhibition match in Los Angeles, growing concerns about the suspension of a similar match in Chicago on Saturday have been eased as organizers insist the match at Soldier Field will take place.

Crain’s Chicago Business reports that the original list of 36 stars has dwindled to 13, and that those now taking the field will include former Northwestern University players, as well as one current Northwestern player. Names like Kevin Prince Boateng and Cesc Fabregas are nowhere to be found. The sponsor blamed injuries and team obligations for the diminished roster.

The promoter of the Chicago event told the Chicago Tribune that approximately 25,000 tickets have been sold for the Soldier Field event.

While sponsors of the L.A. game blamed Messi for refusing to play, the Argentine star has taken to Facebook to put the onus back on the sponsors.

“Disappointed by the management of the charity match in Los Angeles,” said his page. “I really wanted to be there and enjoy [it] as I did in Peru and Colombia. This project is made for the fans, and that’s why I’m very disappointed with the organization. A big hug to those who were going to support this cause at L.A. Memorial Coliseum and thank you all for your support.”

The Messi and Friends vs. The Rest of the World tour last played Tuesday night in Lima, Peru. Proceeds go to Messi’s charity.


What do you think of these developments?  Planning to attend the Chicago match? Feeling like you overpaid for tickets now that you know so many stars won’t be attending?

Share your thoughts below

  • SanFran415

    As we said yesterday–doubt Lionel Messi had anything to do with any of these events besides simply showing up. That’s how these things work.

    Collect an appearance fee, play some ball and hop on a flight.

    “The sponsor blamed injuries and team obligations for the diminished roster.”

    I mean seriously, that’s ridiculous. Cesc Fabregas is not injured and he doesn’t have team obligations. Those players were never coming.


    • chris

      I believe he’s injured, didn’t play in confed cup final, know your stuff before u talk


      • SanFran415

        He didn’t play because he was benched for Torres.


      • chris

        No he didn’t play in the semi or final because he was hurt, again know your stuff


      • Frank

        If he WAS injured then he should have cancelled the event and issued refunds rather than allow event to be promoted the way it was. Something is very fishy with the way the event was promoted. I don’t think many of those players were actually going to come. I believe as the STAR, Messi has to be accountable in some way. Regardless of whether or not he organized it, it is HIS NAME attached to it and he has a duty to ensure his name isn’t tarnished … and now it certainly is because the fans of football see his name attached to this JOKE of a game. HE WAS THE STAR … it was his charity that was going to benefit and he played 67 minutes!! That is insulting. Forget the fact most people bought full priced tickets before they were discounted, but then to have 90% of the stars NOT show up and to see the man himself play less than 70 minutes is a disgrace and it looks bad on him. He went through the motions like a ‘primadonna’ and any respect I had for him is gone.


  • Old School

    I live in Chicago and I can count on one finger, the amount of times I heard this advertised. Even then, when it was mentioned, it was during the telecast of the Confederations Cup.

    Poor planning, marketing and about every other facet for this exhibition.


    • Nate

      Same here. I actually struggled to find information about it. So glad I decided to skip it.


  • blokhin

    can I play in this? if they’re getting former college players, how about a former college student?


  • martin

    If anyone is in the LA area, channel 62 (Spanish channel) is ripping Messi on a one-hour special, “Messi y sus Enemigos”. They were to broadcast the game. I guess Messi and the organizers also failed to meet their contractual obligations in Colombia and stood up many children. The children who paid a ticket to watch the game were kept in a tunnel and were not able to see the game with the promise of a picture with Messi and an autographed shirt… They got a group picture with around 30 kids. Then they weren’t even told how to get a copy of the picture. They interviewed dozens of angry parents, children, and business owners who lost thousands of dollars. A girl even gave up her quinceñera. I feel bad for the people who traveled to watch the game.


  • barnie

    was gonna volunteer for the game, but they never got back to me, wonder why? people should get a ticket for the gold cup final after all of this


  • BillinChicago

    Hell, yes I feel ripped off!!! Please tell me there is going to be a class action lawsuit over this. I will be the first to sign up. Even now they have the same bloated roster of players up on their website. This is fraud pure and simple. And who believes one red cent of the proceeds will actually go to charity after all of this?


  • Frank

    The event should have been called MESSI HAS NO FRIENDS … given the amount of “Stars” that ditched the event … if they were ever really involved in the first place. This entire event stinks of something fishy. My family are huge football fans. We planned our vacation around this game. We were going to come to Chicago anyways but planned it to include this game. We drove from Toronto. To say we were disappointed is a gross understatement. The people of Chicago and the city itself is top class!!! Too bad the only thing my son will truly remember is the disgraceful event put on by the organizers. That’s all we talked about during our drive home Sunday when we should have been talking about the great City of Chicago. A real shame.


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