Lionel Messi: Argentine's 'zoo' dress code causes stir

    (CNN)You can't be too careful when it comes to observing dress codes -- even if you're arguably the world's top football star.

    Barcelona forward Lionel Messi has drawn the ire of politicians in Gabon -- a nation on the western coast of central Africa -- who say the Argentine lacked respect by dressing as if he was off "to the zoo" when he met the country's president.
    Gabon's opposition party, the Union du Peuple Gabonais (UPG), took particular umbrage with Messi's shorts and t-shirt attire for a meeting with President Ali Bongo Ondimba, amid denials by the government that it had paid four-time World Player of the Year millions of dollars to make the trip.
      Lionel Messi was accused of dressing for the zoo rather than for meeting the country's president Ali Bongo Ondimba.
      "The messiah of football arrived in Gabon like he were going to a zoo: dirty, unshaven and his hands in his pockets, looking for peanuts to throw to them!" read a statement from the UPG, which also condemned the player's "indelicateness."
      While the opposition got stuck into the 28-year-old Messi, who was in Gabon on a trip organized by former Barcelona and Cameroon star Samuel Eto'o, the government dismissed a report by France Football magazine that it had paid the Argentina around $3.8 million to visit the country.
      "The Gabonese Republic strongly denies having paid, or having pledged to pay any amount of money to the international Argentine soccer player, Lionel Messi," read a Gabon government statement sent to CNN.
      "Mr. Messi visited Gabon from the 17th to the 18th of July 2015 after having been invited by President Ali Bongo Ondimba."
      Estimated to be worth $262 million, Messi was reportedly driven around the country's capital city Libreville by the president himself before heading to Port-Gentil to lay a foundation stone for the stadium.
      He is in Africa while his Barcelona teammates are on a preseason tour of the U.S.
      Messi was given time off after leading Argentina to the final of the Copa America, where it was beaten by host nation Chile.
      CNN was not immediately able to contact Messi's representatives.