WHY ANYONE WOULD want to hurt him we don’t know.
But yesterday a schoolboy attempted to punch Lionel Messi as the Barcelona star signed autographs for children outside a restaurant in his home town of Rosario.
The 23-year-old Ballon d’Or winner was unhurt following the incident and continued to sign autographs after his would-be assailant had fled.
“There was a crush of people waiting outside,” said Pablo Moyano, who was working in the restaurant. ”There were kids, reporters, photographers waiting … and one of the kids tried to punch him. I don’t know if he pulled it off. He went running afterward.”
“I didn’t feel a thing and I only found out after all the kerfuffle, it was nothing,” Messi told sports daily Ole. “I wasn’t even touched.”
The star also posted a message in Spanish on his Facebook page late last night reassuring fans that he was “perfectly fine” and thanking them for their concern.
Witnesses said the suspect was dressed in the uniform of a school located a few blocks away. Argentine media are reporting that the boy was a supporter of Rosario Central, the local rival of Messi’s schoolboy club, Newell’s Old Boys.
Fresh from last weekend’s Champions League success with Barcelona, the little number 10 arrived in Rosario earlier this week and is taking a few days of vacation before practice starts next week for the Copa America.