A TV reporter nearly left Lionel Messi in tears during a post-match interview in which she waxed lyrical about his incredible career and the impact it’s had on Argentina and the footballing world.
Journalist and compatriot Sofia Martinez spent little time talking about yet another magical Messi performance as the sporting icon starred to send his country into the 2022 World Cup Final, almost as if we’ve now become so used to it that it’s barely worth analysing anymore.
Instead, she chose to make the most of the opportunity and explain to the footballing genius exactly what he means to his country, to football and to the sporting world in general
This is a truly lovely watch.
You can see how much it means to the 35-year-old who has already admitted this is likely his last World Cup if not his last major international tournament altogether.
As you can see, Martinez assures him that regardless of whether they lift the trophy, “there’s something that no one can take from you… it’s the fact you resonated with Argentinians, every single one.
“There’s no kid who doesn’t have your [shirt], no matter if it’s a fake, real or a made-up one. Truly, you made your mark in everyone’s life. And that, to me, is beyond winning any World Cup.”
She goes on to add, “No one can take that from you and this is my gratitude, for the amount of happiness you bring to a lot of people.”
With Messi just smiling as he tries to keep it together, Martinez concludes by saying: “I seriously hope you take those words into your heart because I really believe that’s more important than winning a World Cup and you already have it. So thank you, captain.”
It goes without saying that this deep affection for what many consider the GOAT goes far beyond national pride: the Argentina and Barcelona legend has inspired generations of kids to not only try and become footballers but play the beautiful game with more fluidity, creativity and freedom than ever.
The Messi vs Ronaldo debate aside, he is an icon whose contribution to modern football, ability to create unforgettable moments and overall influence on the sport cannot be accurately measured.
‘La Pulga’ (‘The Flea’) has seemingly his last chance to lift the greatest trophy in sport on 18 December and no matter who Argentina face in the final, you know Messi will play more than his part in making it a memorable game.
An official Guinness Fan Zone is coming to Manchester for the Six Nations
One of the biggest Guinness Fan Zones in the UK is coming to Manchester city centre for the Six Nations this February and the best part of all is, it’s absolutely free.
With the beloved rugby union tournament kicking off on Saturday, 4 February, Guinness are bringing their popular fan zone to our lovely city and just in time for the Wales vs Ireland game, not to mention England vs Scotland later the same day.
Popping up on Baring Street, Mayfield, just round the corner from Piccadilly Station, the Six Nations fan zone will be the biggest outside of London and runs all the way until Saturday 18 March.
Transformed into a dedicated space for rugby lovers to watch the match and enjoy a fresh pint of ice-cold Guinness, the fan zone festivities don’t stop there.
To keep the party rolling, they will also be hosting a series of interactive shows, activities and live performances, including bagpipes, Irish dancers and more. There’s even an interactive beer wall – the first one to be available outside of rugby union’s historic home at Twickenham.
Once again, general admissions tickets to the fan zone are absolutely free, but you can bag yourself a table reservation for £10 per person. Better still, for super fans, you can even grab an exclusive Season Pass for a limited time only, granting you access to all five games in the competition.
This includes a special edition team jersey, access to the best seats in the house and the first 150 customers will also get a Guinness Six Nations tote bag filled with beanies, cushions and foam fingers, even temporary tattoos and face paints for you to get your full colours on.
Last but not least, those who do grab a Season Pass will also be in with a chance to win one of Guinness’ exclusive ‘Money Can’t Buy Experiences‘, this year’s main prize being four tickets to a Six Nations match, a dressing room tour and being trusted with flag bearer duty before kick-off. Mint.
Russian supporters waving Putin flags and wearing ‘Z’ war symbols questioned by police at Australian Open
A number of Russian supporters attending the Australian Open were spotted waving pro-Putin flags and wearing ‘Z’ war symbols during Novak Djokovic’s match on Wednesday evening.
Spotted in the crowd whilst watching Djokovic’s quarter-final tie against Russian tennis player Andrey Rublev, the group of fans cheering on Rublev are now said to have been questioned by local police following the stunt as a further investigation is expected to be carried out.
The nine-time tournament winner might have seen off the world number six seed in straight sets to progress to the penultimate round of the major, but the controversy that the pro-war display has caused is understandably all anyone can focus on.
You can see a significant number of Russian fans chanting “Putin!” with their flags in the stands below, as well as another man clearly flaunting the ‘Z’ symbol — synonymous with the invasion of Ukraine.
According to a statement issued by Tennis Australia, four men were questioned by local authorities in Melbourne after they revealed their pro-Putin emblems and reportedly threatened security guards inside the Rod Laver Arena then they were asked to remove them.
Victoria Police have now confirmed that while charges were made, the group of supporters were quickly ejected, with Australian Open organisers reassuring that they will “continue to work closely with event security and law enforcement agencies.”
To make matters worse, Djokovic’s father, Srđan, was later seen posing with what appears to be the same group of fans and images of Vladimir Putin outside the stadium.
The Serbian has not long put his own controversy behind him after being deported from the country due to covid regulations and his anti-vax stance last year. This surely won’t help.
The Russian invasion has been an ongoing issue at the Open, with Russian and Belarusian players now having to compete under a neutral flag.
This comes after spectators had initially been allowed to bring any flag into the arena with them. However, following the incident, certain Russian flags are now prohibited and security guards have been provided with pamphlets in order for them to check for approved national emblems.
Elsewhere, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy was both surprised and relieved to find out that Germany has confirmed they will be sending Leopard 2 tanks to bolster his country’s defences, which he only learned whilst in the middle of an interview with Sky News’ Kay Burley.
We are now approaching a year since the Russian invasion began, with Putin’s campaign having run for 11 months and 3 days.