Friday, January 27, 2023

Messi’s hometown in Argentina yearns for final victory

ROSARIO, Argentina ( Associated Press) — Fernanda Quiroga still remembers Lionel Messi playing soccer on the dirt streets of a working-class neighborhood in Rosario, Argentina’s third-largest city.

“He was always kicking a ball, a little hat,” said Quiroga, 35, the same age as the Argentina team captain. “I remember him, because he lived in front of the house, near his grandmother, going out to buy bills (cakes) around the corner and always kicking something.”

Anticipation for Sunday’s World Cup final, which sees Argentina take on defending champions France in Qatar, is running high and anxiety is especially high in Messi’s hometown as many hope this is the year He would eventually win the only major trophy his illustrious career lacked.

Quiroga said, “It is said to be Leo’s last World Cup, although it weighs heavily on all of us and so we are all looking forward to winning it, I think it is more for him than the team.” “I think the biggest weight this time is because we want him to get it, because he has generated a lot of love and a lot of respect.”

After beating Croatia in the semi-finals on Tuesday, Messi said Sunday’s match would be his last at the World Cup.

The neighborhood, popularly known as “La Bajada”, has become a sanctuary of sorts dedicated to Messi, with colorful murals and graffiti.

“From another galaxy and from my neighborhood,” reads one of them. A large mural of Messi looking up at the sky is painted on the side of his former home, which still belongs to his family.

“The little boy was hot, if he got angry he would grab the ball and take it to you,” recalled Marcelo Almada, a 37-year-old construction worker who used to play soccer with Messi in the neighborhood streets. Joe still remains “He didn’t like to lose… but he was a very good kid (boy).”

With the World Cup, Messi’s childhood neighborhood explodes. “We’re like brothers here,” Neighbor said, as people celebrate in the streets until the wee hours of the morning after each Argentine victory.

The neighborhood has also become a place of pilgrimage for fans from all over the world, who come to visit Messi’s old home and the small dirt court on the corner where he started kicking the ball before becoming one of the best players of all time. Had done it.

“I’ve been a fan of Barcelona and Messi since I was little… My dream is for Messi to win (the World Cup),” said 23-year-old Israeli Niv Reznik, who traveled to Argentina with friends to watch Barcelona’s For the tournament from the homeland of the star who played 17 seasons.

When Reznik and his friends arrived at Messi’s house, one of them knelt down and waved in appreciation.

Andrea Sosa, Messi’s 5th and 6th grade math and science teacher at school, also wished him victory.

“He was a quiet student, consistent with his activities, responsible for what he had to do for school and very much loved by his classmates … fundamentally for sharing moments of fun and playing ball,” Sosa recalled being in one of the school’s classes. “I was very focused on football.”

Winning on Sunday would be “the icing on the cake that’s missing.” Hopefully he will be successful, but he has already done so much to be recognized and loved by all ”,

The students live the World Cup “with a beautiful passion” and want Argentina to win “for Messi”, said 13-year-old Milena Fernandez, who stood in front of a large mural of the star at school.

Messi and the national team have managed to instill hope and optimism among Argentinians in a country that has been mired in economic stagnation for years, with one of the highest inflation rates in the world, nearing 100% per year, and Where nearly four out of ten people live in poverty.

“Everyone wants Messi to win and it creates a dialogue, a very pleasant feeling and very rare in Argentina, which lives in a fight, divided, angry, frustrated,” said endocrinologist Diego Schwarzstein, who has Messi was treated for lack of growth. hormones until he left for Barcelona at the age of 13 when the European club promised to pay for his expensive treatment.

In Rosario, a city marked by drug violence, that sentiment seems even harsher.

Sousa insisted, “Let’s forget a little bit about the murders, the robberies and all that is happening… It (due to the World Cup) distracts us a bit.”

It’s not just a distraction. For those who have followed Messi’s career from the start, a win on Sunday would mark the culmination of a lifetime’s work.

“As much as he is a rock star now and has a wonderful family, a beautiful woman, a big bank account and popularity, his path was not a bed of roses,” the doctor warned. “Those of us who know this path and know the importance of this cup, wish deeply that they could receive it.”

The residents of La Bajada hope that if Messi wins on Sunday, he will return to visit his old home.

Sousa declared, “We all dream that he comes back. It is a great wish, especially for the little kids who hear that we all know him and they also want to meet him. There is a great hope.” And I’m sure it will happen sooner or later… It’s his home, it’s the family’s home, let’s hope it happens.’

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
Nation World News is the fastest emerging news website covering all the latest news, world’s top stories, science news entertainment sports cricket’s latest discoveries, new technology gadgets, politics news, and more.
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