Lionel Messi is clearly the best soccer player in the entire world, but now he is also the cruelest after what he did to several fans this past weekend, including 9-year-old Hudson Sherwood.
According to USA Today, Hudson’s father, Tony, paid $2500 to attend the Messi and Friends Tour charity match on July 6 at Soldier Field. The money for the two tickets paid for them to watch the event, and to then have a meet-and-greet with the Hudson’s hero. The money went towards UNICEF. It seemed like the perfect thing to do for his son, as money would go to charity and Hudson would meet the man he has idolized for half of his short life.
Tony said about 75 customers who paid $2,500 each were put in a small room underneath the field. They waited there about two hours before being told the world’s best soccer player was not coming.
“It was chaos from the beginning,” Tony said. “They weren’t prepared. They told us he was coming, told us he was coming, and then five minutes before the match, one of his Spanish-speaking representatives came in and said due to team commitments, he can’t come.”
Fans were told Messi would come at halftime or the end of the game, but that didn’t happen either.
“There were tears, disappointment and heartache,” Tony said.
I cannot even imagine being 9 again and thinking that I was about to meet the athlete I looked up to the most. For me, it was Don Mattingly. I remember standing just 10 feet from him as he walked by after a game and thought it was amazing. I cannot imagine the pain Hudson experienced when he was given a guarantee that he would meet Messi. Hudson, who owns 6 Messi jerseys and wears #10 on his own team told his father he doesn’t want another one.
To try to make up for the no-show, event organizers gave cheap gifts, including an inexpensive ball with Messi’s autograph and silk screen autograph on a T-shirt. These were not the gifts they were promised.
Messi and his representatives have yet to respond to the colossal foul up. He no-showed a charity event in LA earlier in the week and they gave a simple statement.
Tony was able to get a refund from Visa, since the terms of the agreement for his purchase weren’t met, but his son’s heart remains broken.