After bringing back the smiles on the faces of thousands of Argentina supporters with his first goal of FIFA World Cup 2018, Lionel Messi decided to make the day all the more special for one Argentinian journalist following the team's victory over Nigeria.
Messi's campaign in the ongoing tournament was off to a rough start as he missed a penalty against Iceland, with La Albiceleste being held to a 1-1 draw by the World Cup debutants. Following the draw, Messi was interviewed by television reporter Rama Pantarotto and was offered a lucky ribbon that was passed on from the reporter's mother, according to a report on The Independent.
The Barcelona superstar decided to be a sport and keep the ribbon with himself.
Following Argentina's nail-biting victory over the Nigerians on Tuesday, one that helped keep their campaign alive and setup a Round of 16 clash against Group C toppers France, the same reporter asked Messi if he recollected anything about the lucky ribbon that he gave him after the Ireland draw.
Mi querida mamma @mariakosmica le mandó de regalo a @leomessi una cinta roja (contra la lechuza) y el maestro se la ató en su tobillo izquierdo. Lloro, no puede ser tan crack!!! 🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻 #messi #leomessi #worldcup #copadelmundo #russia #rusia pic.twitter.com/zWBMsQ6xpU
— Rama Pantorotto (@ramapantorotto) June 27, 2018
"I don’t know if you remember, but my mother gave you a ribbon," asked the Pantarotto in Spanish.
Much to the scribe's amazement, the Argentine talisman pointed towards his left foot and showed him that the ribbon was indeed tied to his ankle throughout the match in which he finally opened his account in the ongoing event.
"Mum, Messi wore it," was Pantarotto's reaction, looking at the camera and mimicking the Barcelona star's goal celebration, after the surprise from Messi.
The video of the interaction has since gone viral on social media.
The game against Nigeria began in ideal fashion for Jorge Sampaoli’s side, who had managed just a point from their opening two games.
A perfectly weighted diagonal ball over the top by Ever Banega was sublimely brought down on the outside of his thigh by Messi who then drove past Nigeria’s teenage keeper Francis Uzoho to open the scoring.
The selection of Banega proved to be an inspired one by Sampaoli, with the Sevilla midfielder providing the quality service that had been lacking so far in Russia.
It had been an impressive half from Argentina but the game was to take a twist shortly after the interval, as Victor Moses successfully scored the equaliser for Nigeria from a penalty, before Marcus Rojo netted the winner in the 86th minute.
With inputs from Reuters
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Updated Date: Jun 28, 2018 21:20:12 IST