Rival fan throws punch at Messi

Published Jun. 2, 2011 1:00 a.m. ET

The world's best soccer player, Lionel Messi, had a punch thrown at him outside a restaurant in his hometown in Argentina on Thursday night.

The Barcelona star was swung at by a fan of local soccer club Rosario Central while he was surrounded by a scrum of well-wishers and photographers, Goal.com reported.

Messi, who was back in Argentina ahead of next month's Copa America, used to play for Rosario's rivals, Newell's Old Boys, during his early years.

A witness told TV news channel C5N, "We're taking photos and we see the arm and he dodges it. [Messi] did not react badly, he left walking and got into the [car]."

The diminutive 23-year-old, who was born in Rosario, later played down the incident.

"I didn't feel a thing and I only found out after all the kerfuffle [commotion], it was nothing," Messi told sports daily Ole. "I wasn't even touched."

On his Facebook page, he wrote, "To relax all those people that have asked us about the truth of the accident coming out of the restaurant, tell them I did not receive any blow from anyone. I'm perfectly OK."


Messi, the FIFA Ballon d'Or winner in 2010, is still celebrating scoring a goal in Barcelona's 3-1 Champions League triumph over Manchester United at London's Wembley Stadium last Saturday.

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