From the “macumba” that “cured” him to the tennis-soccer tournament that he won barefoot: 7 stories from Messi's childhood that you didn't know

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A series of anecdotes that portray the beginnings of the star in Rosario. Jokes, pranks and more

From the “macumba”

By

Federico CristofanelliTHE UNKNOWN ANECDOTES OF LIONEL MESSI

1. HE WON A BAREFOOT SOCCER-TENNIS TOURNAMENT

Fabián Soldini, the representative who brought Lionel Messi to Barcelona, ​​recounted that for a Friends' Day in Rosario all the boys who were represented by the business group for which he worked met and put together a soccer-tennis tournament. There were players like Renzo Ruggiero (Rosario Central), who were five years ahead of him. There was also Nacho Scocco, who was in the youth teams at Newell's. The winner was Messi, with the particularity that he won it… playing barefoot!

2. “I WANT TO SEE RICHARD”

Diego Vallejos was a neighbor of the Messi family. Today he still lives a few meters from the house where Leo He grew up in Rosario. And they shared a school, as well as a neighborhood. Teacher Andrea, from General Las Heras School No. 66, was driven crazy: she was saddled with an alleged affair with the bus driver who was taking them to the carpentry shop. Set to the beat of the Queen song “We Will Rock You”, she was made to blush every time Richard arrived in the vehicle.

3. LITTLE GAMES AT THE TRAFFIC LIGHT

Bruno Milanesio threw walls with Messi at the Newell's children's pitches. He belonged to that famous Category 87 of Leprosy who won every tournament they put him in front of. Off the field, they were also united. And one day when three or four boys met at the Milanesio house, they had no better idea than to make Leo play little games at the traffic light on the corner to ask for coins between the vehicles. Immediately Bruno's mother saw them through the window and challenged them. The collection was so low that they did not even buy a soft drink for everyone.

4. CHEATING IN VIDEO GAMES

Yes I read I didn't walk with a ball, so I made it move with video games. It was another hobby that he had as a boy and carried over into adulthood. One day at Bruno Milanesio's house they put a football cartridge on the Sega console. Messi's former teammate says that in a penalty shootout it was impossible to beat the computer. He then proposed to change the controls, that one play for the other team and thus they could defeat the rival knowing at what stick they were going to shoot each penalty. In a moment of distraction, Leo appeared shouting that they had come out champions (in theory, he played alone against the machine), but that he had already turned off the console. To this day, Milanesio mistrusts his ability to play video games: “he can't lose anything at all.”

5. INTRUDERS IN THE REGIMENT

If the picado was not set up on the pavement of the streets of the block or in the dump that today was transformed into a club of neighborhood, Messi and his friend Diego led their gang to sneak into the Regiment's property that was a few meters from their respective houses. Since there was still military activity at that time, the soldiers took them out whenever they saw them from afar, climbing a tree or playing ball with improvised arches.

6 . CURED BY A MACUMBA

Newell's Category 87 went to play a tournament in the Santa Fe town of El Trébol, where Bruno Milanesio's grandmother was from. One day before the final, Leo sprained his ankle and was doubtful for the decisive match. His partner's grandmother asked some personal questions about Messi's family, consulted the ankle of which leg he was injured and assured that he would be cured the next day. Believe or burst: Leo was able to play the final and they came out champions.

7. “IF YOU SCORE 5 GOALS, I'LL BUY YOUR SWEATSHIRT AND BACKPACK”

During the test he did in Barcelona in 2000, Soldini He challenged him to score five goals in practice to buy him an outfit he had seen in a shop window. Despite being shorter than his classmates, Leo dazzled. And in reduced football that day he scored four. At one point he kicked and the ball went all the way across the goal line. His representative denied that he had entered the ball into the goal to avoid paying the prize, although she finally validated it.