In one of Argentinian footballing history’s darkest days, Saudi Arabia trumped Argentina by a score of 2-1, after a thrilling comeback following Lionel Messi’s 10th-minute penalty that put them ahead in the group stage game of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Needless to say, fans of a fairly novice Saudi Arabian football team were elated with their victory over a stellar team, loaded with international talent, and most importantly, commandeered by 7-time Ballon d’Or winner, Lionel Messi, and they did not hesitate to show their appreciation for the Arabs along with generous criticism of the South American squad.
That said, one particular Saudi Arabian fan stood out like a diamond in the rough in the post-match interviews outside the Lusail stadium and instantly went viral for his antics.
Approaching a journalist reporting live for MBC, a South Korean TV broadcasting company, the comical fan questioned the journalist, “where is Messi?”
The fan even went on to literally sneak a peek into the journalist’s pockets, implying that the Argentine jersey no. 10 utterly failed to make his presence felt on the pitch as the Arabs defeated his team.
Now, while the fan did gain immediate popularity for his comedic timing, he also managed to point out a crucial piece of critique for the 35-year-old forward who has been faced with similar criticism even in the past, with pundits claiming that Messi is simply ineffective on the international stage for Argentina.
Thankfully for the Argentine captain, that has not been the case in the 2022 edition of the World Cup.
On the contrary, Lionel Messi is well on his way to winning the golden boot for the tournament with a goal count only rivalled by French phenomenon, Kylian Mbappe.
However, fans jumping ship to support a different team on account of big names like Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar Jr. and La Pulga himself, is not entirely unheard of, despite being a despicable practice in the world of football.
And that’s precisely what the Saudi fan who went viral for asking “where is Messi?” has done.
In the backdrop of the upcoming final fixture of the FIFA World Cup where Argentina will battle defending champions, France, for the most prestigious trophy in the sport, the “where is Messi?” fan has finally found it in himself to support the 35-year-old and his squad in their World Cup campaign.
The fan said, “Where is Messi? I am the Saudi guy who made this iconic in the World Cup… “where is Messi?”… but today I’m supporting Argentina.”
The man from Saudi went on to proffer the exact reason behind his decision to support Argentina saying, “I promised my friends from Argentina that if they reached the finals, I would support you.”
The man has seemingly already established his identity as the guy who asks, “where’s Messi?” as he concluded the interview by asking the question one more time and following that up with a spirited “Vamos Argentina!”
If anything, the complete turnaround of this fan shows the kind of influence and support the Argentine skipper has over his ardent fans.
Should Lionel Messi win this FIFA World Cup, he will cement his name as the greatest footballer of all time, surpassing Cristiano Ronaldo’s international success.
The only hope is that Lionel Messi does not give a chance to haters to ask the question, “where is Messi?” in what he has admitted will be his final game for Argentina in the World Cup, regardless of the final result.