Lionel Messi is one of the most beloved players of all time, but that’s not to say that he hasn’t been booed on several occasions throughout his career.
Generally speaking, the eight-time Ballon d’Or winner is loved wherever he goes, although there have been some notable exceptions to this over the years.
We’ve managed to find five times when Messi was booed either by the opposition fans or his very own supporters.
It’s not often that Messi makes an appearance in Asia, so fans were hugely excited when Inter Miami announced they would be playing a pre-season friendly against Hong Kong.
Match-going fans paid as much as £500 for a ticket in the hopes that they would be able to see Messi in action. The problem? Messi remained on the bench for the entire friendly.
The crowd started chanting ‘refund’ in the second half and a chorus of boos rang out at full time after the 36-year-old remained on the bench for the game.
The government’s major sports events committee explained: “Regarding Messi not playing the match today, the Government, as well as all football fans, are extremely disappointed about the organisers’ arrangement. The organiser owes all football fans an explanation.”
Messi later revealed that he didn’t take part in the friendly due to a muscle injury, but it’s fair to say that the home crowd wasn’t best pleased with this scenario.
INTER MIAMI BOOED OFF THE FIELD IN CHINA 😡
The mood in Hong Kong turned sour after Messi didn't play in the #InterMiamiCF friendly. 40,000 fans chanted "Refund refund refund" and "Where is Messi?" (who sat on the bench). Beckham also booed post-match.pic.twitter.com/gjnbEfSRUr
— World Soccer Talk (@worldsoccertalk) February 4, 2024
Every player gets jeered by the opposition fans every now and again, but being booed by your very own supporters is so much more brutal.
It’s been well-documented that Messi didn’t really enjoy his time in France and things hit boiling point with the PSG ultras during his second season with the club.
Following PSG’s exit from the Champions League, home fans singled out Messi and Neymar for criticism in particular. It’s no wonder he didn’t stick around in France for long.
🚨🎥 | PSG fans boo Neymar Jr & Lionel Messi after their Champions League defeat to Real Madrid.🍅pic.twitter.com/bFxQ00pWnv
— Football Khanage (@FootballKhanage) March 13, 2022
In very similar circumstances to the Hong Kong situation, English fans were hoping to get a glimpse of Messi during a clash between Argentina and Italy which was being held at the Etihad.
However, they were left disappointed when the former Barcelona forward remained on the bench for the entire game. Once the referee blew the full-time whistle, the crowd let out a collective grown pointed in Messi’s direction.
Argentina Vs Italy at the Etihad tonight. First half a bit dull, second half sprang to life. No sign of Messi so lots of dissapointed Manc kids. pic.twitter.com/FHmkYO7rYK
— Chris Horner (@ChrisHorner1974) March 23, 2018
These days Messi is regarded as a god in his native country, but that wasn’t always the case. Prior to winning his first international trophy in 2021, Messi had an on-and-off relationship with the Argentina faithful.
Following a massively disjointed performance against Colombia in the 2011 Copa America group stages, Messi and his teammates were booed off the pitch by Argentina fans.
Messi had to endure plenty of international heartache throughout his career and even briefly went into international retirement in 2016. Thankfully, his Argentina trophy cabinet is stacked these days.
The 2022 World Cup was a whirlwind of emotions for Messi and Argentina. Lionel Scaloni’s side got off to a disastrous start as they lost their opening group stage game against Saudi Arabia.
Before kick-off, the Saudi Arabia fans were taunting Messi from the stands, despite the fact he is a tourism ambassador for the country.
Saudi Arabia pulled off one of the greatest shocks of World Cup history by beating Argentina and the result seemed to spur Scaloni’s side on for the rest of the tournament. It’s fair to say that Messi had the last laugh.
Lionel Messi, ambassador for Saudi Arabia, currently being booed by Saudi Arabia's fans.
— Rory Smith (@RorySmith) November 22, 2022