THERE WON’T be too many higher-profile sporting names than Lionel Messi who have found themselves dragged into the Israel-Gaza conflict. Having written on his Facebook account two weeks ago how he was “deeply saddened” by the loss of young lives, accompanied with a photo of an injured Palestinian boy, it comes as no surprise that Israeli social media users have now urged him to acknowledge the death of four-year-old Daniel Tregaron. The image of Daniel posted online following his death shows him wearing a Messi Argentinian shirt, which meant it was always going to be the case that Israelis would seek he posts again, this time making reference to Daniel. The fact that his club side Barcelona are sponsored by Qatar Airlines meant posts sent to him inclued “Daniel was killed by a terror organisation your team’s #1 sponsors is sponsoring.” Maybe, Messi has now leant it’s best to keep schtum on such occasions.
SPEAKING OF footballers having their say on the current conflict, Egyptian Mohamed Aboutrika is definitely one who won’t be offering any sympathies to the Israelis. The Vatican has organised a peace match to take place at Rome’s Olympiaco Stadium on 1 December, the aim being to unite people of different religions. Yossi Benayoun will be there, as will the likes of Roberto Baggio, Zinedine Zidane and yes, even Lionel Messi. Aboutrika won’t be as he’s refusing to play ball due to Benayoun’s participation. Also taking to social media to explain his decision, he tweeted: “This is a photo for the match invitation which I turned down because of the Zionist state. Pardon us, we are raising new generation.”
WHILE LIVERPOOL have been making the headlines with their purchase of Mario Balotelli, one of their signings which is set to slip under the radar is that of Israeli Michael Ohana. Brendan Rogers has reportedly offered the FC Ashdod midfielder a trial at Melwood and if successful, the 18-year-old could feature for the club’s U18 side this season.