Add two more letters to his name and Lionel Messi would be the Messiah, so perhaps it shouldn’t come as a surprise that a fan who ran onto the field during Thursday night’s World Cup qualifier against Uruguay bowed down to the Argentine soccer star to kiss his feet.
Messi, who scored the only goal of the game to earn the 1-0 win, took the gesture in stride. He didn’t even flinch when the fan, caught on match cameras, ran full-speed toward him in an effort to escape security. Messi even gave the man a hug. (You can skip Messi’s game highlights — although not the blond highlights on his head — to see the fan’s antics starting at the 8:40 mark in the below video.)
Messi, of course, as one of the greatest soccer players of all time, is used to this kind of attention. And he’s generally pretty great about respecting the fans who risk their bodily security to get a glimpse of their idol up close on the field.
In fact, the five-time world player of the year is so friendly to his fans that he even reportedly invited one to board his yacht off the coast of Ibiza, Spain, this summer.
He “was very humble, very hospitable,” said the fan, who swam half a mile out to the yacht before being invited aboard.
Before anyone else gets any ideas, however, know that pitch-invading is highly discouraged. Depending on the rules of the city and country the game is held in, invaders can face fines, stadium bans and even jail time.
The fate of the invader at Thursday night’s game, which took place in Mendoza, Argentina, remains unclear.