Lionel Messi is one of, if not the most, popular soccer players on the planet, so it’s no surprise that children idolize the ground he walks on. It’s no surprise, then, that a small child sobbed after Messi summoned his security crew to take a brief selfie that the young fan will remember for the rest of his life:
The daring little fan approached Messi as the five-time Ballon d’Or winner arrived at the Argentina team hotel in Montevideo before of a critical World Cup qualifier against Uruguay. As one might expect from someone as renowned and wealthy as Messi, he is flanked by security, who apprehend the child right away, not wanting to jeopardize the futbolero’s safety in any way. Getting so close to your idol only to be whisked away is heartbreaking.
When Messi observed the boy being turned away, he called security and asked them to let him through. The young youngster took advantage of his opportunity, not only meeting Messi but also taking a selfie with him, which has now gone viral; note the disgruntled security guard in the background for good measure.
Following that, a Uruguayan television reporter tracked down the youngster, Luciano, and questioned him about the incident. When security pulled him back, the clearly overwhelmed 11-year-old said he thought his hopes were over, but Messi stepped up for one of his biggest fans.
With his good deed of the day over, Messi must now turn his attention to Argentina’s next two World Cup qualifying matches, which take place this week. Jorge Sampaoli’s side has won just six of their fourteen qualifying matches and will need to pick up the pace if they are to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia; they are currently in fifth place, which would put them in a play-off against an Oceania team.
While on the field against Uruguay, Messi will be doing double duty as a player and a spokesperson for Argentina and Uruguay’s joint bid for the 2030 World Cup. To raise awareness of the bid, Messi and his Barcelona teammate (and Uruguay opponent) will wear the numbers 20 and 30, respectively, throughout the match.