Lionel Messi swamped by star-struck mascots in adorable moment ahead of PSG’s Champions League win over Maccabi Haifa with Kylian Mbappe also singled out September 15, 2022 – Posted in: Soccer
Lionel Messi was swamped by doting young mascots before Paris Saint-Germain’s clash with Maccabi Haifa on Wednesday evening.
The star-struck children looked on in amazement as the Argentine superstar stood just inches away from them, as he lined up for the pre-match Champions League anthem.
The group of youngsters broke protocol because instead of lining up in front of their designated player, they instead took advantage of the opportunity to meet Messi by approaching him for a hug.
One mascot blew kisses at Messi while another made a heart sign with his hands to show his adoration for the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner.
In total, four mascots swarmed Messi for a cuddle with the 35-year-old kindly reciprocating as he prepared for PSG’s Group H clash in Israel.
Kylian Mbappe was also singled out by the mascots and followed Messi’s lead by acknowledging the children.
The Messi love-in continued into the second half when a fan ran onto the pitch to meet his idol, but was quickly removed by stewards.
Messi was at his brilliant best yet again on Wednesday night as he scored one and assisted another to help the French Champions fightback from a goal down to beat the Israeli side 3-1.
Messi pounced to equalise shortly before half time after Maccabi took a surprise 24th-minute lead.
The goal ensured he became the first player in history to score in 18 consecutive Champions League seasons.
Despite a spirited performance from the hosts, PSG’s quality shone through and they took the lead in the second half when Messi played in Mbappe to turn the tables.
Neymar added a third late on to put the Parisians joint-top of the group alongside Benfica, ahead of their double header next month that will almost certainly decide the group.
Messi has had a much-improved start to the season at PSG after a challenging first campaign following his shock move from Barcelona in 2021.
The Argentine has recorded five goals and eight assists in his opening 10 games.