Lionel Messi made a fan for life this week when he let a 24-year-old man climb aboard his private yacht off the shores of the Spanish island of Ibiza.
The fan, identified as Suli by Spanish newspaper Mundo Deportivo, swam over half a mile to the Barcelona star’s yacht, where he was spotted by security. Instead of shooing the man away, however, Messi invited him on board and then hung out with him for about 20 minutes.
He “was very humble, very hospitable,” Suli told Mundo Deportivo of his time with the five-time Player of the Year recipient. Suli described the interaction as if he was chatting with a regular guy, rather than one of the most famous people in the world.
Suli told Mundo Deportivo the 29-year-old offered him juice, before posing for a picture. Suli said Messi went so far to track down the phone of a member of his yacht crew’s to snap the photo after the pair discovered Suli’s phone was waterlogged from the long swim.
“I lost a phone but I won a photo with Messi,” Suli said.
Messi has been vacationing with his family in Ibiza for the last week, while he recovers from an emotional summer that saw him retire from the Argentine national team after a devastating penalty shootout loss to Chile in the Copa America final. Messi is expected to return to Barcelona to prepare for the upcoming season at the end of the month.