Argentina’s Football team, led by the legendary footballer Lionel Messi, has pulled out of a “friendly” warm-up match against Israel after protests from fans around the world. According to reports, the match was “suspended” after “escalation of violence, threats and criticism” by fans of the sports team, especially toward the captain ‘Leo’ Messi.
The match between Argentina and Israel was scheduled to be played on June 9 Jerusalem before it was cancelled by Argentina
According to Al Jazeera, the match between the two countries was to be played in Teddy Stadium which is located on land that was once a Palestinian village that was destroyed in 1948.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has also apparently spoken with his Argentinian counterpart urging the national team of Argentina to reconsider their decision.
Fans had started a campaign last month urging the Argentine team to cancel their match with Israel over the atrocities committed by the Israeli state toward the Palestinian people
Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement had initiated a campaign #NothingFriendly in this regard, saying “there is nothing ‘friendly’ about military occupation and apartheid”.
The campaign soon caught the attention of football fans all around the world, word spread and people took to social media to share their opinions on the matter.
People were sharing how there are many other famous icons who have stopped associating with Israel over the atrocities being committed in the region.
— amir thayyil (@amirthayyil) June 4, 2018
After the announcement that Argentina has pulled out, people were overjoyed at the gesture by the team
Messi talked with the Argentina Football Association to suspend the friendly vs Israel. Him and his teammates have refused to play in the game due to the recent barbaric acts done by the IDF in Gaza. S/O to the @BDSmovement for raising awareness ??. Respect ✊? #FreePalestine
— Ahmed-Mody Salous (@mooodsters) June 5, 2018
Got so much respect for the Argentina team and football association for swerving playing Israel.
You know what would happen if this was England.
— frankyscouseki✊ (@DIMBERLYisMI5) June 6, 2018
"Messi and Mascherano are the two players who spoke with the Argentina Football Association, in order to suspend the friendly against Israel."
I didn't know this was possible, but I love my idol even more than before. What a gesture, huge statement! ????
— J. (@Messilizer) June 6, 2018
People are especially thankful toward Messi for taking a political stance and making a big statement
“The game between Argentina and Israel was cancelled when Lionel Messi refused to go there and said he is a human before a footballer. All the financial losses due to cancellation of game will be accomodated by the Argentine forward Messi.”
Class act Leo! Vamos Argentina! ??
— Khairil Anuar (@KhairilAnuar) June 6, 2018
Just been personally told from a very reliable source that Messi asked the Argentinian Federation not to play against Israel in solidarity with Palestine.
His decision was largely influenced by the holy month of Ramadan. Mashallah brother Messi! What a man!
— Jimmy (@FCBJimmy_) June 5, 2018
Messi/Argentina cancelled their match against Israel for their muslim fans. THIS IS MY TEAM ??
— Adib (@Adib10x) June 5, 2018
At the same time, there are those who think that the Argentine team caved into angry protestors for fear of their safety had they not cancelled the match
This was Daniel Tregerman, a 4-yr old #Israeli boy murdered by Hamas mortar which struck his home near Gaza, 2014.
Think of Daniel when you read how Argentina caved to Palestinian terror blackmail & cancelled match vs Israel. pic.twitter.com/4wIUtdPczE
— Arsen Ostrovsky (@Ostrov_A) June 6, 2018
Whatever side you believe in, Argentina’s Football team’s decision to not play against Israel is certainly a big statement. What remains to be seen is if such an action has any consequences on the FIFA World Cup that’s starting from June 14.
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Cover image via: ghanasoccernet.com