Football great Messi arrives in Egypt, visits Giza Pyramids

Ahram Online , Nevine El-Aref , Tuesday 21 Feb 2017

Messi poses for a picture at a hotel overlooking the Giza Pyramids in Egypt, 21 February, 2017 (Photo: Messi's official Facebook page)

Barcelona and Argentina football great Lionel Messi arrived in Cairo on Tuesday to promote the country’s Tour n’ Cure medical tourism campaign and paid a visit to the Giza Pyramids.

Messi, named the world's best player for a record five times, toured the pyramids of Giza, a Wonder of the Ancient World, shortly after landing in Cairo.

"I came here before, in 2007, but I did not have a chance to explore the pyramids the way I did today. Egypt is a country with a big history and I'm happy to visit it," Messi said in a brief interview with ONTV. 

He was welcomed by renowned Egyptologist Zahi Hawass, who said he told the 29-year-old about "the secrets of the pyramids".

"I told Messi about the chambers found inside the Khufu pyramid and the latest studies being carried out by a team comprising of French, Egyptian, Canadian and Japanese experts to decipher the interior design of the pyramid," Hawass told Ahram Online.

"I also told him how the ancient Egyptians have built the pyramids and he asked whether we found the hidden tomb in Tutankhamun's burial chamber that may belong to Queen Nefertiti.

"I told him more scans will be carried out to determine this," Hawass added.

The Tour n’ Cure campaign runs combined tourism and Hepatitis C treatment travel packages for tourists visiting the country.

"Medication against Hepatitis C saves lives, let's put an end to the waiting lists," Messi said on his official Facebook page. 

Messi's visit to Cairo was postponed twice.

The 29-year-old was set to visit Egypt on Wednesday last week but the trip was postponed after Barcelona lost a game 4-0 against Paris Saint Germain at the Parc des Princes Stadium, hurting the team's chances of reaching the European Champions League quarters.

In December, Messi agreed to postpone his visit after the deadly bombing of Cairo’s St. Peter and St. Paul's Church, which left 29 people dead.

Egypt has gained global recognition for fighting Hepatitis C, with the World Health Organisation celebrating World Hepatitis C Day in Cairo in 2015.

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