Thu. Jul 11th, 2024

Messi’s forgotten bar in Argentina

Messi's forgotten bar in Argentina 1
Messi's forgotten bar in Argentina 1

In a deserted bar in Rosario, Argentina, it was almost time for a Barcelona match, but the TV screen was still showing a tennis match.

The only sign that tells visitors that this place belongs to Messi are the photos of the soccer superstar hanging throughout the bar.

No one seemed interested in the soccer match in which Messi was present until Oshin Gharibi and Lena Wagner came in hastily, asking the waiter to change the channel.

`It seems like I love Messi even more than the people of Rosario,` said Oshin Gharibi, 32, as he watched the match alongside his girlfriend Lena Wagner, 23, who was wearing a Barcelona shirt with Messi’s number 10 on it.

Messi's forgotten bar in Argentina

Two German tourists took souvenir photos at Messi’s restaurant during their trip to Argentina.

`Messi has become such a great star from such a small place,` Gharibi said.

This is probably also a question of many people.

The answer can be found in several hypotheses: First, it is the comparison of Lionel Messi with the statue of Diego Maradona: Good football without victory is meaningless.

In addition, in Argentina’s third largest city, when it comes to football, people will only care about two clubs: Rosario Central and rival Newell’s Old Boys, Messi’s childhood club.

Messi's forgotten bar in Argentina

Lena Wagner and Oshin Gharibi visit the house where Messi lived during his childhood in La Bajada, Rosario.

`You will see the breath of football everywhere in Rosario, but, that air does not smell of Messi,` wrote Guillem Balague, author of the book `Messi`.

Everyone seems to know Messi, but it would be `almost rude to have his picture plastered everywhere,` Balague said.

As the German tourists walked up to the rusty gate in front of Messi’s childhood home, they couldn’t hide their joy.

Messi has always kept a close connection with Rosario.

`I don’t think there’s anything against Messi, maybe it’s a cultural thing that we have to evaluate and rethink… People like Messi probably deserve more recognition,`

Messi was born a year after Maradona led Argentina to the World Cup in 1986. But he had to live with comparisons to the legendary former captain throughout his life.

`For those of us who took care of Messi, it hurts to hear people criticize or compare him to Maradona,` said Andrea Liliana Sosa, one of Messi’s former teachers.

A mural of a young Messi at the Newell club’s youth training center is the only sign that the five-time FIFA Ballon d’Or winner was once a prominent player here.

`I think we didn’t pay enough attention to marketing,` said Gustavo Pereira, a Newell youth coach.

In addition, maybe the people of Rosario also care a lot about Messi’s privacy because they also want him to return here.

`When someone suggested a tour about Messi, it broke my heart,` said Hector De Benedictis, Secretary General of Rosario Tourism.

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