Messi-O-Mania




It would be gravely wrong to say that India has only crazy cricket connoisseurs, especially after yesterday. The arrival of skipper Lionel Messi drove out all the soccer-fanatic fans onto the streets, the airport, and all roads Messi was to travel on. They were screaming and waving the blue-white flags well before the arrival time till much after he made a quiet exit.

Messi-O-Mania

Messi-O-Mania

The friendly match being played in Kolkata does not even have an India team but even then fans poured out from every corner of the city and all because they wanted a glimpse of Messi. It left fans greatly disappointed when they learnt that Messi had already left the airport. One of the fans said that he had been waiting much before the flight was scheduled to land only to get a sight of his player, maybe just a wave from him but all he got was the news that he had already left the airport.

The match to be played is a friendly between Argentina and Venezuela in the Salt Lake Stadium. The stadium’s capacity is of a whopping 120,000 seats and is sure going to be bustling with a zestful crowd cheering for their favorite player, team, or just cheering.

It is no doubt that the fan-following of soccer is increasing by the minute in not only the city but the country. India surely is a huge market and has a great potential as well. A large portion of India follows the matches (including the friendly), standings, player trade-offs and anything else that happens in the soccer world. It would be wrong to say that Indians only have an interest and knowledge on cricket.

Liverpool is already opening a coaching academy on the outskirts of the country’s capital. Last year Bayern Munich was in Kolkata to play a charity match against the East Bengal team, which was a great success. Thus it would be right to say that it is time to change the mind shift that it is only cricket that India adores and follows.

The welcome that Messi got, even though he may not have personally seen so, was overwhelming. The skipper is undoubtedly loved by millions across the globe and is amongst the top favorites of all players. There are cities full of people who worship Messi as much as they worship the sport. Kolkata, was no exception yesterday. And it certainly should be so. His achievements touch the sky right from making his debut in 2004 and scoring a league-goal for Barcelona. Since then he has been on high rise.

India is surely on the radar for investors as the fans make their point: We love it!

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