Lionel Messi swamped by adorable starstruck fans – while PSG team-mates snubbed

Lionel Messi was swamped by starstruck mascots who couldn't have cared less about his PSG team-mates ahead of their Champions League tie with Maccabi Haifa.

The youngsters were in complete awe at the sight of the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner as he emerged onto the Sammy Ofer Stadium pitch pre-match. Several of them rushed to give him a hug before he could even get in position.

The likes of Sergio Ramos and Marco Verratti were totally ignored in what has to be up there as the most wholesome moment of 2022 so far.

READ MORE: Lionel Messi breaks two Champions League records and surpasses Cristiano Ronaldo

It was lapped up by fans online, with one tweeting: "The pre-game mascots have abandoned their jobs to hug Messi instead, so cute to watch."

A second wrote: "Love the children's reactions." While a third commented: "They know ball."

Another joked: "S***, I’m a grown a** man and I’d react the same way." And a fifth added: "He’s bigger than football!"

What would you do if you met Messi? Let us know in the comments section.

Messi is clearly a much beloved figure in Israel, as one supporter rushed onto the pitch after the match to try and get a hug of his own too. That's despite the PSG forward scoring against Maccabi in a 3-1 away victory.

He levelled the score after the hosts had taken a shock lead in the first half, before setting up Kylian Mbappe after the break to give the French side the lead, with Neymar adding a late third.

Messi's goal saw him achieve two Champions League feats, including one which saw him surpass Cristiano Ronaldo, and brought him within 14 strikes of Ronaldo's goals record of 140.


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