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Friday, September 22, 2023

Beijing Stadium Offers Patches from Messi’s Historic Match

SportsBeijing Stadium Offers Patches from Messi's Historic Match

In a novel commemorative move that has set the football community abuzz, the Beijing Workers’ Stadium has unveiled a unique opportunity for fans to own a piece of history. Patches of turf graced by Lionel Messi, often hailed as one of the greatest footballers of all time, are up for grabs at 499 yuan (US$70) each. These aren’t just any patches, though – they’re from the very areas where the Argentinian maestro showcased his brilliance during a friendly match against Australia on June 15.

When Messi took to the field that evening, he did more than just play; he weaved magic. Some of the grass patches on sale come from the very spot where Messi made a record by netting a goal just 81 seconds into the match, marking one of the fastest goals of his illustrious career. Other notable patches include zones where he artfully dribbled past opponents and areas he dominantly controlled throughout the game.

Managed by Zhonghe Gongti, the Beijing Workers’ Stadium has set a process in motion where potential buyers can participate in a lucky draw between August 11 and 15. The draw will determine 100 winners who can then purchase a “Messi turf” patch. Although the exact dimensions of these patches remain undisclosed, 2,023 patches will be extracted from the stadium’s field. After the lucky draw’s conclusion, the remaining patches are slated to be sold on prominent social media platforms like Xiaohongshu and Dewu.

Messi’s trip to China wasn’t just about the game; it was a cultural phenomenon. He led Argentina to a 2-0 triumph against Australia, with an enthralled crowd of 50,000 fans in attendance. His stay in China witnessed an electrifying reception, with fans and followers turning out in droves. To commemorate this iconic event, the stadium management elucidated on Weibo, a social media app, that the intent behind selling these turf mementos was to encapsulate the energy and enthusiasm of that unforgettable night. These souvenirs aren’t just grass; they represent dreams, passion, perseverance, and the miraculous.

Purchasers of this historical turf will need to practice a little patience, though. The stadium has noted a 45-day wait post-purchase, as the turf undergoes a preservation process before being presented in a sealed glass box.

Interestingly, this isn’t the stadium’s maiden venture into turf sales. They embarked on similar endeavors in 2013 and 2020, and some European stadiums have followed suit. However, the initiative has sparked some debates. While thousands have shown interest, some critics have humorously suggested that perhaps the Beijing air Messi breathed should be next on the sales list.

The sentiment among genuine football aficionados is different. For them, owning a piece of land Messi played on isn’t just about possession; it’s about cherishing a tangible piece of football history.


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