Remember how soccer star Lionel Messi left several dozen fans high and dry -- not to mention $2,500 poorer -- on the Chicago stop of his disastrous "Messi and Friends" exhibition tour?
Well the Barcelona star and four-time FIFA world player of the year recently stepped forward and tried to make things right for at least one fan, sending 9-year-old Hudson Sherwood an autographed jersey like the one he was supposed to receive from Messi before the match at Soldier Field this month.
Hudson is a huge Messi fan, one who has six replica jerseys from his favorite player. He's even made a trip to Spain to visit the stadium where Messi plays. So when Messi scheduled a stop in Chicago on his charity tour, it was a no-brainer for his dad to purchase a pricey VIP package that was to include a meet-and-greet with the player, along with an autographed ball and jersey, among other perks.
But Messi failed to show. And the swag, according to disappointed fans, turned out to be a cheap toy ball and a shirt with Messi's signature stamped on.
According to USA Today, on the way home from the match Hudson told his father "Dad, next time I get a jersey, I don't want it to be Messi."
Tony Sherwood told a friend of Messi's about the conversation and the friend told the soccer superstar. So Wednesday the Sherwoods got a package from Spain. Inside was a jersey with the message "Para Hudson de tu amigo Leo." (For Hudson, from your friend Leo.)
While those who paid for the VIP tickets are demanding a refund, Major League Soccer's Chicago Fire offered an alternative package at a Fire game. After hearing what happened, owner Andrew Hauptman had the club track down the 75 fans, 16 of whom took the club up on its offer of a tour of the team's Toyota Park home, a visit to the field and locker room and a spot in Second Star Club, where they watched the Fire's win over D.C. United last weekend.
The thousands of fans who purchased tickets to Messi's scheduled tour stop in Los Angeles were also snubbed when the July 3 game was canceled about 27 hours before kickoff. In response, the Galaxy offered discounts to its next two home games to fans who bought tickets to the Messi exhibition.
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