The dream of the fans is that the great cracks are supporters of their teams and to be able to get a badge from that. And in the case of Leo Messisomething like this happens with River Plate, club of which it is said that he is a fan even though Leo himself, every time he is asked, confirms that he is from Newell’s.
However, fanaticism can do more and so can confronting the rival that the best player in the world “is mine”. Obviously, those from Newell’s do it to those from Central with Messi, as they also did with Diego Maradona, who was not a leper fan, but the fact that he played for the club in the 90s was enough to be adopted by one and hated (or, at least, disowned) by others.
There are several arguments used to affirm that Messi is from River. And if it weren’t for his time at Newell’s Infantiles and the statements he always made about his sympathy for that team, the reasons that bring him closer to the Núñez neighborhood club would have a certain logic. Namely:
A childhood friend at Newell’s took it for granted.
Of all the arguments, the strongest was provided in the first person by a former teammate of Messi in the Newell’s Children’s, Gerardo Grighini, who stated without euphemisms which team Lionel was from as a boy. And he did it no less than in the biography of Messi, which was written by the Catalan journalist Guillem Balagué.
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“He says he is a fan of Newell’s -said Grihini- but when he was a boy he was from River, like me. He was a fan of Pablo Aimar”.
His childhood idol was a River player
Most of the soccer kids have as their favorite player a referent of the team of which they are fans. Except for the monumental exceptions, such as Maradona or Messi himself today, who are idolized throughout the world, it is rare to find a child who sympathizes with one painting and idolizes the figure of another.
Messi had Paul Aymar, when he shone in River, like his idol. Not to Bielsa, for example, or any of the Newell’s players from the 90s, but to the 10 of the Millionaire.
When Newell’s did not pay for the treatment, he knocked on the doors of River
Leo Messi He was a very small boy and his story about the growth hormones he had to take is already well known. But in those times of children’s football at Newell’s, Leo already showed that he was different, however the club did not want to pay for the treatment.
Tired of waiting for an answer, his father, Jorge Messi, traveled to Buenos Aires because a contact offered him the chance to go to River. Lionel tested with boys two years older than him and physically huge. He played little and they made him come back two weeks later to train with players his age and he broke it.
River agreed to help Messi with his treatment for growth, but the road was cut short: “They asked me to bring the pass and when we went to look for it, those from Newell’s shitted me out, they didn’t want to give it to me. We fought it, but they never gave it to me. And then everything about Barcelona came out, ”said Lionel himself.
He did not shout the goal to River in the Club World Cup
On December 20, 2015, River, who had been champion of the Libertadores, came to the final of the Club World Cup where he faced the Barcelona of Messi, Luis Suárez and Neymar, who had won the Champions League that year. The difference between one team and another was abysmal and almost 3-0 against was a decent result for Marcelo Gallardo’s team.
But the most curious thing happened when, 36 minutes into the first half, Messi made it 1-0 and not only did he not shout the goal but later, with his head down, he raised his arm to the River people who were in the tribune, as if asking for forgiveness. Many understood that apology as typical of soccer players who score a goal for the team they are fans of.
After that game in Yokohama, Japan, Leo took four River jerseys as a souvenir and even took a photo with the Argentine club’s prop, in which he is seen smiling… and with a River jersey on his shoulders. “He has great affection for River,” said then president Rodolfo D’Onofrio.
Messi always denied these and any other version that romantically linked him to a club other than Newell’s, of which he always said he was a lifelong fan. Nevertheless, those who say that as a boy he was from River, have some arguments.