Lionel Messi is one of, if not the most, beloved soccer players on the planet, so it’s not surprising that kids worship the ground that the Argentine walks on. It wasn’t surprising, then, that a little kid burst into tears after Messi called off his security team in order to take a quick selfie that the young fan will remember for the rest of his life:
As the five- time Ballon d’Or winner arrived at the Argentina team hotel in Montevideo ahead of a crucial World Cup qualifier against Uruguay, the brave little fan approached Messi, hoping to meet his idol. As one would expect from someone as famous and rich as Messi, he’s surrounded by security, who immediately apprehend the kid, not wishing the risk the futbolero’s safety for any reason. Talk about heartbreak, getting so close to your idol only to get swooped away.
However, when Messi saw the kid get denied, he called back to security for them to let him through. The little boy didn’t miss his opportunity, getting not only to meet Messi, but also to take a selfie that has been circulated all over the web since; note the less-than-pleased security guard in the background for good measure.
Afterwards, an Uruguayan television reporter caught up with the boy, whose first name is Luciano, and interviewed him about the moment. The clearly-overwhelmed 11-year-old shared that he thought his dreams were dashed when security pulled him back, but Messi stepped up for one of his biggest fans.
With his good deed of the day behind him, Messi will have to switch gears and put all of his focus on Argentina’s next two World Cup qualifying matches this week. Jorge Sampaoli’s team has won just six of their fourteen qualifying matches and will have to rev things up if they hope to cash their ticket in to Russia next year; they currently sit in 5th place, which would earn them a spot in the play-off against an Oceania team.
While on the field against Uruguay, Messi will be pulling double duty, both as a player as an ambassador for the joint 2030 World Cup bid put together by Uruguay and Argentina. Both Messi and his Barcelona teammate (and Uruguay opponent) will wear the numbers 20 and 30, respectively, during the match to promote awareness of the bid.