To be Lionel Messi is to be semi-regularly bombarded by fans, be it during warm-ups, after the final whistle, or right in the middle of a game. Messi typically handles these pitch invaders with grace: he’ll give them a hug or a high-five. He’ll pose for a selfie.
Last week in Dublin, after a friendly between Barcelona and Celtic, a fan jumped from the stands as Messi made his way from the field and through the tunnel. This time, Messi’s bodyguard hurdled himself at the fan and made a truly excellent open-field tackle.
Watch for yourself:
Note the force and technique on display here. This is the sort of correct tackling they teach American children in youth football. The ability to recognise the fan and spring into action is also impressive. In another life, the bodyguard would be a decent linebacker.
But watch the video a second time and you’ll see Messi — with his bleach-blonde hair — again reach his hand out for a high-five.
Most people, it’s safe to say, would not instinctively reach their hand out in friendship at someone who has just jumped down practically on top of them. But then, Lionel Messi is not most people.
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