Argentinean footballer Lionel Messi has caused widespread controversy in Egypt after donating his shoes to charity during a television interview.
The 28-year-old Barcelona star requested to put his shoes on auction and donate the revenue for charity in an interview for a new show called 'Yes, I am famous' broadcasted Saturday on Saudi channel MBC Masr, that mainly targets an Egyptian audience.
Taken as an insult, Messi’s gesture was heavily attacked by some Egyptian TV presenters and known guests.
Egyptian Parliament member Said Hasasin took off his shoes during his TV shoes and say he donate it to the Argentine in response to footballer Messi's donation, 27 March 2016
"We [Egyptians] have never been humiliated during our seven thousand years of civilisation… I will hit you with the shoes, Messi," said controversial parliament member and TV presenter Said Hasasin on Sunday during his evening talk show.
"This is my shoe, [he took off his shoe on air] I donate it to Argentina," Hasasin said.
The Egyptian Football Association spokesman Azmy Megahed echoed Hasasin saying "Our poor don't need him. Shoes work for him," during a phone call to Hasasin’s programme.
"I am confused, if he intends to humiliate us, then I say he better put these shoes on his head and on the heads of the people supporting him. We don't need his shoes and we don't need charity from Jewish or Israeli people. Give your shoes to your country, Argentina is full of poverty" Megahed angrily said.
Egyptian coach and former striker Ahmed 'Mido' Hossam
On the other hand, some defended the gesture and Messi's intention, explaining that it's so kind of Messi to give away “the most precious thing he has.”
"The most precious thing the writer owns is his pen… and the most precious thing the footballer owns is his shoes. I hope we stop the false accusations," former Tottenham Hotspur and Egypt striker Ahmed 'Mido' Hossam tweeted.
Egyptian TV presenter Mona El-Sharkawy during her interview with Barcelona star Lionel Messi on 'Yes, I am Famous' program on MBC MASR
For her side, Messi's interviewer on the show Mona El-Sharkawy denied mentioning Egypt in the donation and insisted she only said charity.
"This is so false. It's a trend on our show that we take a souvenir from our guest and put it on auction for charity," Sharkawy stated in a phone call with another TV programme explaining the matter.
"I am surprised; I didn't say we will be giving it to charity in Egypt or any other place. I don't know why they said he is presenting it to Egypt. This was never said," she concluded.
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