Messi Mobbed by Fans Outside Restaurant
Lionel Messi may have just led Argentina to World Cup glory three months ago, but that doesn't stop fans from flocking to pay tribute to the football icon whenever he returns home. On Monday night, the Paris Saint-Germain star needed police assistance to reach his car after being besieged by adoring supporters outside a restaurant in Buenos Aires.
Messi arrived in Argentina on Monday morning with his family, ahead of Thursday's international friendly against Panama. After training with his teammates, he headed out for dinner at a local restaurant in Palermo.
When the Mob Swarmed
News quickly spread, and hundreds of fans gathered outside Don Julio, hoping to catch a glimpse of the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner.
The crowd chanted Messi's name and even sang "Muchachos," the unofficial anthem of Argentina's World Cup success. According to La Nacion, Messi did not leave the restaurant until 1:45 a.m., once police arrived to calm the crowd. He barely made it through the horde, with some reaching out to touch him or grab a selfie.
Despite the commotion, Messi was in high spirits as he and his family were escorted to their vehicle by police officers.
Previous Fan Incidents
This isn't the first time Messi has faced a situation like this. After returning home to his native Rosario following the World Cup triumph, his car was mobbed by fans. He had to cut short a parade in Buenos Aires right after Argentina's World Cup victory due to safety concerns.
Another similar incident was when Messi sought to attend his niece's birthday party in his hometown of Rosario, which is located 180 miles northwest of Buenos Aires. The incident occurred after the World Cup final, and his arrival resulted in fans swamping his car.
Messi's Football Status
As for his club commitments, PSG is already out of the Champions League, so Messi's focus will be on domestic competitions. However, he will soon be back in international action with Argentina, who are set to play against Panama and Curacao in the upcoming week.
Thursday's game at Buenos Aires' Estadio Monumental sold out quickly after the Argentina Football Association received 1.5 million ticket requests. Messi, who is two strikes shy of 100 international goals with Argentina, has the chance to reach that milestone in the game against Panama on Thursday or against Curacao on Tuesday, March 28, before returning to France to help PSG fight for the Ligue 1 title.
Messi is currently third on the all-time list of leading men's international goal scorers, behind Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo, who achieved his century of goals in September 2020 and now has 118, and Iran's Ali Daei, who scored 109 before retiring in 2007.
Other Related News
Away from the pitch, Messi has also been in the news recently due to reports that he could be on the move this summer. His current contract with Paris Saint-Germain expires at the end of the season, and there are suggestions that the club may not extend his deal.
If he does leave PSG, he has no shortage of suitors, with Al-Hilal, Inter Miami, and Barcelona all reportedly interested in signing the Argentine.
For now, though, Messi is focused on his international duties with Argentina, and fans will be eagerly watching to see what he does next, both on and off the pitch.