Lionel Messi's private plane forced to make emergency landing at Brussels airport
Lionel Messi's private plane had to make an emergency landing at Brussel's Zavantem airport on Friday morning after problems with the landing gear were detected.
It is not clear whether the Barcelona star was on board at the time, but the aircraft touched down en route to Tenerife at 9.10am, according to Belgian outlet HLN.
90 minutes later it is said to have taken off again, before turning back and returning to the Belgian capital.
Messi bought the Gulfstream V two years ago for a fee of €13m (£11.5m), and had his shirt number, 10, painted on the tail, as well as including the names of his children, wife and himself on the steps of the entrance staircase.
Brussels airport has refused to comment on the incident due to GDPR legislation.
Messi has been in typically outstanding form this season, with the six-time Ballon d'Or winner scoring 19 goals and creating 12 assists in 22 La Liga matches before the campaign was suspended due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
He recently aimed a dig at the Barcelona board for their handling of pay cut measures amid the COVID-19 pandemic situation.
Posting on Instagram, he said: “A lot has been written and said about the football first team at FC Barcelona, when it comes to the players’ salaries during this state of alarm,” the statement opened.
“First of all, we would like to clarify that we have always been willing to apply a wage cut, because we understand perfectly that this is an exceptional situation and we are ALWAYS the first to help the club when we have been asked to.
"Indeed, we have often done so on our own initiative in those moments in which we have considered it important or necessary.
“For that reason, we cannot help but be surprised by the fact that from within the club there are those trying to put us under the microscope or apply pressure for us to do something that we have always been clear that we would do,"
t is not clear whether Messi was on the plane when it landed.