Indonesian fans of Lionel Messi have expressed dismay after the star pulled out of a friendly in Jakarta, including one making a 12-hour boat and plane journey to the game who accused organisers of false advertising.
People have rushed to snap up more than 60,000 tickets for the sell-out Monday clash between Indonesia and World Cup winners Argentina after Messi’s face was plastered across advertising for the event.
But following days of speculation, fans in the football-mad country received bad news on Thursday that their hero would not play.
“I’m feeling sad and disappointed, mixed emotions,” 31-year-old shop owner Surya Wijaya Ang told AFP from the remote island of Banda Neira in the eastern province of Maluku.
He is planning to take a boat to the eastern Indonesian city of Ambon before catching a four-hour flight to Jakarta to attend the match.
Ang sold seven shirts from his wider jersey collection to pay for the 1.2 million rupiah ($80) match ticket, a steep price in the lower-middle-income country.