During an appearance on the TV show "Yes, I Am Famous" on Saudi channel MBC Masr, Messi offered a pair of his adidas up to be auctioned off for a good cause. Unbeknownst to him, shoes are synonymous with filth in the Arab world, which led to public outcry in Egypt over the move. A clip from his appearance is embedded above.
"We have never been humiliated during our seven thousand years of civilization," Egyptian parliament member Said Hasasin said on TV in response. "I will hit you with the shoes, Messi."
The move has also been widely criticized on Twitter and by Azmy Megahed, a spokesman for the Egyptian Football Association.
"Our poor people don’t need him. Shoes work for him," Megahed said. "I’m confused, if he intends to humiliate us, then I say he better put those shoes on his head and on the heads of the people supporting him"
For what it's worth the host who received the shoes from Messi, Mona El-Sharkawy, says that they were never intended for charity in Egypt specifically.
"On our show we always request a souvenir from the people we interview and we put those things up for auction for charity," she told Marca. "I am shocked by what has happened. Messi never said he was going to donate his boots to charity in Egypt."