Has Saudi Arab police detained Messi during FIFA World Cup 2022? Know the truth.

False Sports

A photo of football star Lionel Messi is currently going viral on social media, in which he can be seen surrounded by a few police officers. It is claimed that Saudi Arabian police detained Messi during the FIFA World Cup 2022. 

However, Fact Crescendo found the claim to be false. This is an old image of when Messi was escorted by police and not detained. 

What’s The Claim?

Sharing the image, social media users claim that it is not the first time Saudi Arabia locked up Lionel Messi. 

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Another post on Facebook claimed that Messi was arrested as he performed poorly against Saudi Arabia. 

Fact Check- 

Google Reverse Image Search on the viral image led us to the Getty Images website, where we found the same image. According to the information, this image is from November 2012. Upon arrival in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Messi and the Argentina team were escorted by security personnel.  

We also found a similar image uploaded on the Alamy website. According to the information, the security personnel escorted Lionel Messi as he arrived with his team in Riyadh on November 12, 2012. Argentina was scheduled to play a friendly soccer match with Saudi Arabia. 

According to a report by Metro News, on 13 November 2012, Argentina’s soccer team arrived in Saudi Arabia for a friendly match. Upon arrival at the airport, Messi was escorted by security guards. At that moment, one of the security guard’s guns ended up pointing toward Messi’s face, leading to a stunned look on his face. However, in the end, Messi could get through the airport unharmed. 

Had Messi ever been arrested in Saudi Arabia?

No news report was available to back the claim that Messi was previously arrested in Saudi Arabia. However, according to a report by the Hindustan Times on 7 July 2017, Messi had been sentenced to 21 months in jail for tax fraud in Spain, but later, the sentence of imprisonment was substituted with a fine.


Fact Crescendo found the claim to be false. The viral image is a decade old, when Messi was being escorted out of the airport in Saudi Arabia. He was not detained by police, as claimed in the post.


Title:Has Saudi Arab police detained Messi during FIFA World Cup 2022? Know the truth.

Fact Check By: Fact Crescendo Team 

Result: False

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