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Fan detained for hugging Messi during football match

  • Chinese football fan placed under detention after hugging Messi during a match
  • He has been banned from sports venues for 12 months
  • Three security guards attempted to apprehend Di and took him away

16 Jun 2023

A Chinese football fan who made headlines for storming the pitch and hugging Argentine football star Lionel Messi during a friendly match between Australia and Argentina has been placed under "administrative detention," according to Beijing police.

The 18-year-old fan, identified by authorities as "Di," has also been banned from entering sports venues as a spectator for similar events for a period of 12 months. The police did not disclose the duration of Di's detention but mentioned that he had expressed remorse for his actions and accepted the consequences.

Videos of the incident quickly went viral on Chinese social media platforms, capturing the young fan leaping from the stands and sprinting towards Messi, who was also wearing the number 10 jersey. Initially taken aback, Messi stretched out his arms and reciprocated the hug, leading to cheers from the crowd.

As three security guards attempted to apprehend Di, he managed to elude their grasp, even causing one of them to fall over. With an exhilarated sprint, the fan proceeded to high-five Argentina's goalkeeper, Emiliano Martinez. It was only when Di stumbled that the security personnel were able to catch up to him and escort him back to the stands, where he was received like a hero.

The incident provided a moment of entertainment during the event, which has garnered significant attention across China since Messi's arrival in Beijing. On Chinese social media, numerous users, whether football fans or not, celebrated the fan's audacious dash as a symbol of freedom and youthful spirit in a society grappling with the aftermath of three years of Covid restrictions and economic challenges.

While the fan's actions were seen by many as lighthearted and exhilarating, authorities have taken a firm stance in enforcing discipline and security measures in sports events.


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