Lionel Messi has beach kickabout with Brit kid in Caribbean as mum ‘humbled’ by superstar
The Argentine and Barcelona forward was on holiday on the Caribbean island of Antigua, when he was spotted by young Mackenzie O’Neill, 11, who was there with his family.
Mackenzie, from Canterbury, Kent, made friends with Messi’s son, Thiago, while they were both staying at the private Caribbean resort.
His mum Anna, 41, said she hadn’t even known who Messi was when her son came running in to tell her.
“I’m not a football fan at all, so when Mackenzie said, ‘oh my god, mum, Messi is on the beach’, I was just like, ‘who?’,” she said.
But, after Googling the world-famous player, she headed down to the beach to see the Argentine have a kickabout with her son and his children.
“When Mackenzie said, ‘oh my god, mum, Messi is on the beach’, I was just like, ‘who?’”
Anna Mackenzie, mum
She said even though Messi didn’t speak much English when she asked for a photo of him and Mackenzie he replied: “Yes, no problem”.
“It was such a sweet experience,” she added, saying it had been “humbling”.
Mackenzie got to play a “full-on match” with “rush goalies” on the sand, with Messi and his son on one team.
He admitted it was difficult to take the ball off the 32-year-old player, and even his six-year-old son Thiago was “really good for his age”.
Mackenzie described Messi as “a really nice guy,” adding: “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.”
The starstruck Brit had the chance to hang out more with Messi and his family over the coming days at the resort, and often played with Thiago – who spoke English – and travelled out with the family to a pontoon on the sea.
He said Messi’s wife Antonella Roccuzzo-Messi often translated for her husband, who only knew the names of “football clubs and stuff” in English.
Mum Anna – who was previously a model but now works in property development – said of Messi: “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.
“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.”
Mackenzie added that Messi is his favourite outfield player, but said he prefers goalkeepers as he plays in goal for local side Faversham Strike Force FC.
- Lionel Messi
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