Lionel Messi fan swims 1km to meet Barcelona star on private yacht

By Ben Grounds

Argentina's Lionel Messi. Photo / AP
Argentina's Lionel Messi. Photo / AP

It is the once in a lifetime opportunity that many football fans would only dream of experiencing, sharing a yacht with Lionel Messi.

And now one Spaniard will never forget the summer of 2016 after spending 20 minutes with the Barcelona forward doing just that.

Suli, from Ceuta (a Spanish city on the north Moroccan coastline), swam a kilometre from the shore in Ibiza to reach the Barcelona superstar to chat and have his photo taken with him.

The 24-year-old, who is a fan of Atletico Madrid, was enjoying himself on the holiday island when he noticed Messi's impressive yacht at the Salines beach.

Suli did not think twice about swimming up to the boat, unlike his friend who stayed on the shoreline, with the brave intruder navigating the waves wearing a plastic bag containing his mobile phone.

After a kilometre swimming, the avid football fan arrived at yacht Seven C, where Messi has been spending part of his holiday after reaching the Copa America final with Argentina.

The 29-year-old's entourage alerted the five-time Ballon d'Or winner of the uninvited guest, but far from wanting to go by unseen, Messi emerged onto the deck and greeted the starstruck man.

All Suli wanted was a photo with the idol, but his mobile had got soaked in the process of making the journey to the yacht and was unusable.

Messi stepped in and asked one of his boat employees to take a photo of them together that he would send to the man using one of his phones.

The Argentine did not stop there, offering Suli a glass of juice before sharing a prolonged conversation in which Suli was asked about his origin and his previous encounters with footballers, which included meeting Thibaut Courtois.

'I lost my telephone but I gained a photo with Messi,' Suli told Spanish daily Mundo Deportivo.

'As he spoke and addressed me, he didn't come across as a global superstar. He was very humble, very hospitable, both he and his family were wonderful.

Messi then ensured the man arrived safely back on the shore by arranging a speedboat to take him back to the beach in another wonderful gesture from one of the world's greatest ever players.

The heartening story was made all the more telling when Suli came across Messi's historic rival Cristiano Ronaldo at the famous Balearic night club Pacha later that night, when the Real Madrid and Portugal star was kept away from the public.

'I couldn't even shake his hand,' Suli added. 'He was surrounded by security and I couldn't get anywhere near him.'

Funny moments

A video posted by Cristiano Ronaldo (@cristiano) on

Spend time with my little man

A photo posted by Cristiano Ronaldo (@cristiano) on

- Daily Mail

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