Charged with protecting soccer’s greatest star, Lionel Messi’s bodyguard wasn’t taking any chances as he leapt into action when a fan ran onto the field Sunday night.
During Inter Miami’s 3-1 win over Los Angeles FC Sunday night, a spectator invaded the field and made a beeline for the World Cup winner.
However, Messi’s bodyguard was quick to leap to the defense of his charge, grabbing the field invader around the neck.
The supporter, who wore a Barcelona jersey, successfully made it as far as the forward and even managed to begin to wrap his arms around him in an attempt to hug the soccer superstar.
But Messi’s guard managed to rip the invader away, practically strangling him in the process before two members of staff arrived to help escort him away.
The incident didn’t appear to distract Messi as he provided two assists as the Herons toppled the reigning MLS Cup champions.
Messi completed a lucrative switch to Inter Miami this summer after calling time on his turbulent spell in France with PSG, heading to the States to experience a new league and culture at the age of 36.
But not only did the David Beckham-owned franchise lure one of soccer’s all-time greats to Miami, it clearly also hired one of the most vigilant bodyguards around to protect him.
The alert bodyguard has previously been seen monitoring Messi as he walks on and off the field.
Miami revealed its plans to ramp up security ahead of Messi’s arrival, which generated levels of attention not seen in US soccer since David Beckham signed for LA Galaxy back in 2007.
Speaking to the Miami Herald, Owner Jorge Mas, who spearheaded the charm offensive to get Messi to the States, said back in June: ‘Security will obviously be enhanced. Players will be bussed in, going through a tunnel. All of those security protocols are already prepared both for here and away. And it’s not only for our games.
‘It’s going to be an everyday occurrence and something we witnessed and I thought handled very well when (Messi) was here with Argentina before the World Cup.
‘As you may recall, Argentina trained in Miami before they flew over to to Doha. We had an opportunity to see some of the Messi mania at our doors on an everyday basis during practice. So, we’re very prepared. We’ve been getting ready for this.’
It hasn’t taken long for Messi mania to engulf the States, with the Argentina captain mobbed by fans on several occasions since moving to the country.
One even approached him in his car and received a kiss from his hero as he waited in traffic.
This article was updated 1 month ago