Argentina vs. Israel football match called off after calls to burn Lionel Messi shirts

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Argentina’s upcoming friendly with Israel in Jerusalem has been cancelled, the Israeli embassy confirmed on Tuesday, citing unspecified threats against Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi.

The FIFA World Cup 2018 warm-up match had been scheduled to take place on Saturday.But its status had been placed in doubt earlier, following protests by Palestinian football authorities who had urged Messi not to take part.“The Embassy of Israel regrets to communicate the suspension of the match between Israel and Argentina,” a statement said, referring to “threats and provocations” against Messi.

Local media had reported earlier Tuesday that the game was set to be scrapped, depriving Messi and his team-mates of a final warm-up game before they open their World Cup campaign in Russia.

Argentine Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie told reporters in Washington on the sidelines of the Organization of American States meeting that he believed Argentina’s players had been reluctant to travel to Israel for the game.

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