An 11-year-old English boy was stunned after being asked to play a short round of pickup soccer with Argentinian superstar Lionel Messi on the beach during a holiday.
Mackenzie O'Neill said the random offer came from Messi’s father Jorge who asked the boy to play while on a day at the beach outside their resort in Antigua.
The boy, whose Instagram says he’s a goalkeeper at Faversham Strike Force, told Sky News that he played “full-on match” with “rush goalies.” Messi played with his son Thiago on one team.
“He was a really nice guy. He looked happy to see me playing with his son and some other boys,” the boy said about the soccer star. “He doesn't act like he owns the place, he just acts like what anyone else would act like.”
“He was a really nice guy. He looked happy to see me playing with his son and some other boys. He doesn't act like he owns the place, he just acts like what anyone else would act like.”
Anna O'Neill, the boy’s mother, told the broadcaster that it was “a sweet experience” and that “they're just a very normal family.”
“I know it's terrible but I just thought, 'oh here we go, another footballer', but a million per cent he's just interested in his family and it was really humbling. What a lovely thing for this guy to do - he's on a family vacation,” she said.
She said that when Mackenzie rushed into her room to say that Messi was playing on the beach, she didn’t know who he is as she’s not the sport’s fan.
After finding out who Messi was, she went to the beach to see the Barcelona star playing with her son and other children.
“You can see he's very much in love with his wife - it's glorious to see. His wife is a very warm person and Messi definitely seemed confident and happy for Mackenzie to be hanging around with his family,” she said.
“As they left on their final day, Messi and his wife gave really lovely waves saying, 'bye Mackenzie, bye' and we all said thank you so much and cheerio.”