Saudi official welcomes Lionel Messi ahead of Brazil-Argentina friendly in Riyadh

This is Lionel Messi’s second visit to Riyadh in five years. (Photo courtesy/Twitter: @Turki_alalshikh)
Updated 15 November 2019

Saudi official welcomes Lionel Messi ahead of Brazil-Argentina friendly in Riyadh

  • They met on the sidelines of the international friendly match between Brazil and Argentina

Saudi Chairman of the General Entertainment Authority Turki Al-Sheikh met with football legend Lionel Messi on the sidelines of the international friendly match between Brazil and Argentina which will be held on Friday at King Saud University Stadium.

“I am happy to be back here,” Al-Sheikh said, welcoming the Barca forward in Riyadh.

“A lot of things have changed in Saudi Arabia in the last five years since your last visit. Prince Mohammed bin Salman changed a lot and the whole world is coming to us. He is building a new Saudi,” Al-Sheikh added.

This is Messi’s second visit to Riyadh in five years. The striker will return again on Jan. 8, where his team Barcelona will participate in the Spanish Super Cup finals in Jeddah against Valencia in the semi-finals of the tournament.

The Saudi official touched on Messi’s football career. The 32-year-old’s Barcelona club contract ends in 2021.

“I hope when your contract ends, we will see you play at (UD) Almeria,” Al-Sheikh said referring to the Spanish he owns.

Al-Sheikh also talked about the Saudi national football team, saying that he hoped the team will return to its former glory days when the Kingdom won AFC Asian Cup titles in the 80s and 90s.  


German foreign ministry backtracks after sense of humor failure in trending tweet gaffe

Updated 17 January 2020

German foreign ministry backtracks after sense of humor failure in trending tweet gaffe

  • The meme was the hashtag #SeduceSomeonein4Words
  • Twitter reaction was mixed

BERLIN: Social media can be a minefield for the strait-laced world of diplomacy, as the German Foreign Office just found out, when it was forced to delete a tweet and apologize for its contribution to a mildly off-color Twitter meme.
The meme was the hashtag #SeduceSomeonein4Words.
Submissions on Thursday ranged from “You hungry? I’m cooking” to “Donald Trump Is Impeached”. Then @GermanyDiplo, the foreign ministry’s English-language channel, came up with “Your visa got approved”.
That got hundreds of retweets and thousands of likes. But it also got a fair amount of criticism, much of it from people suffering through the process of acquiring a German visa.

Germany attracts migrants from the world over, with its free universities, strong economy, high wages and almost full employment. In 2015’s migrant crisis, hundreds of thousands from the Middle East and Africa overwhelmed Europe’s border controls and flooded into Germany.
But eye-catching influxes like that mask the thousands of daily frustrations and family tragedies that take place at the consulates of rich countries. Would-be immigrants spend fortunes and wait weeks and months applying for visas that would let them work, study, or be reunited with loved ones far away.
That gives the consular officials who award the coveted stamp immense power. British and US officials have been investigated for abusing that power, allegedly requiring sex in exchange for visas.
So Twitter reaction was mixed.
“Even though it’s terribly hard and sometimes humiliating to try to get visa from German Consulate, the joke is still very funny!” wrote Turkish journalist Rahsan Gulsan.
GermanyDiplo rapidly backtracked, deleting the tweet and four hours later issuing a rueful apology.
“Being funny is apparently not always our strong suit,” the ministry wrote. “We know the visa process is complex, and visa decisions can deeply affect peoples’ lives. Our colleagues take these decisions very seriously.”