The Argentina National Football Team, captained by world-famous Barcelona footballer Lionel “Leo” Messi, is planning an exhibition game against the Israel National Football Team on June 9 at Jerusalem’s Teddy Stadium.
Argentina is a two-time soccer world champion and will be playing in the FIFA World Cup starting in Russia the following week.
The friendly soccer match originally was to take place in Haifa, but Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev reportedly pushed to have the game moved to the capital city, joking that “Messi is coming to pray at the Western Wall.”
Messi has been to Israel before. In 2013, he and his teammates led two “training camps for peace” for children from Israel and the Palestinian Authority areas. In December 2017, Messi agreed to be brand ambassador for the Swiss company Sirin Labs, whose R&D center is in Tel Aviv.
The Argentina National Team previously visited Israel in 1986, 1990, 1994 and 1998.