“I told her not to touch it” – Former La Liga Star Discloses His Lionel Messi Obsession By Sharing Fascinating Shirt-Swap Story

Lionel Messi Scored 84 Penalties Since 2000
Lionel Messi Scored 84 Penalties Since 2000

Former Espanyol star Matias Vargas has revealed he was so obsessed with Lionel Messi that he kept his “dirty” shirt next to his pillow for months, forbidding his mom from washing it.

Lionel Messi Has Created An Ever-Lasting Legacy

Inter Miami superstar Messi is arguably the greatest soccer player the game has ever seen. The 36-year-old ruled Europe with Barcelona before taking his talents to Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) in 2021. Between the two clubs, he scored 704 goals and provided 338 assists in 853 games, winning 12 league titles and four Champions League trophies, amongst other honors. The versatile forward has also caught the United States by storm, guiding Inter Miami to Leagues Cup glory in his debut season.

Messi’s greatest achievement, however, came in December 2022, when he helped Argentine to the FIFA World Cup, ending a seemingly never-ending drought of 36 years. Scoring seven goals and claiming three assists in seven games, Messi deservedly won the Golden Ball in Qatar, becoming the first player in history to win two Golden Ball Awards.

Vargas Discloses His Obsession With Idol Messi

For many soccer players, the eight-time Ballon d’Or winner is no less than a superhuman, and Vargas is one such devotee. The 26-year-old, who was playing for Espanyol at the time, met Messi’s Barcelona in the Catalan Derby in January 2020. Espanyol held their lofty rivals to a 2-2 draw as Barca finished the game with 10 men (Frenkie de Jong dismissed).

After the game, Messi agreed to swap his jersey with his countryman Vargas, leading to an unforgettable moment for the former La Liga star. Such was Vargas’ admiration and obsession with the 36-year-old that he kept his jersey beside his pillow for months, in its original state. He also forbade his mom from touching Messi’s jersey, let alone washing it.

Opening up about the incident, Vargas told Fox Sports (via GOAL):

I slept with a Messi shirt next to my pillow for two or three months. Dirty, as it was. I played against him and we changed them. My mother told me ‘let me wash it’. I told her not to touch it.

The Shanghai Port left-winger featured in two matches for Argentina before retiring from international soccer. Unfortunately, Messi was absent from the lineup in both games.

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