Argentina captain Lionel Messi has received his fair share of requests from his fans over the course of his long career.
The Paris Saint-Germain forward has had to deal with people in the crowd asking for his match-worn jersey, posed for selfies with pitch invaders and even put his signature on one man's huge back tattoo of the six-time Ballon d'Or winner's image. But it's not often that Messi is asked to offer forgiveness.
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However, that's exactly what happened this week when an 11-year-old fan turned up at Argentina's training base in Ezeiza on Tuesday clutching a hand-made sign. In an image posted on social media by TyC Sports journalist Gaston Edul, the youngster was pleading forgiveness from Messi because his mother had decided to name him after a different world footballing superstar.
Esto acaba de pasar en el predio de la Selección. pic.twitter.com/P16qprDhFF— Gastón Edul (@gastonedul) October 12, 2021
Written in Spanish, the sign read: "Messi, forgive my mother, she didn't know what she was doing, SHE CALLED ME CRISTIANO."
According to TyC Sports, the young Cristiano is a youth player in the academy at Racing Club but supports rival Buenos Aires side River Plate. His mother decided to name her son after Cristiano Ronaldo. Clearly, though, he grew up to favour Messi, whom he travelled with his father to meet at the national team's training ground.
Unfortunately, Messi was unable to greet his admirer in person due to the strict COVID-19 guidelines in place at Ezeiza, where Argentina are preparing for Thursday's 2022 World Cup qualifier against Peru.
However, he said after Sunday's 3-0 home win over Uruguay that he hopes the "the communion between fans and the team will last for a long time."
Messi, who captained Argentina to win the Copa America in July, wrote a message on Instagram to his fans ahead of Thursday's World Cup qualifier against Peru at the Monumental stadium: "How beautiful it is to enjoy these moments that we are experiencing! Great triumph!!! Thanks again for making me feel this way. May it continue. See you on Thursday."