Despite being begged by Curacao players to give all 23 of them a shirt, Lionel Messi only gave his jersey to one lucky player.
Following his stunning free-kick goal against Panama, which marked his 800th career goal, the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner continued his impressive scoring streak with a hat-trick in Argentina’s 7-0 victory over Curacao at the Estadio Unico Madre de Ciudade.
Messi scored all three goals in just 17 minutes during the first half, bringing his total goals for Argentina to 102. The world champions also saw goals from Nicolas Gonzalez, Enzo Fernandez, Angel Di Maria, and Gonzalo Montiel.
Video Curacao players begged Lionel Messi to give out 23 shirts
Curaçao players asking Messi to give them all his shirt after tonight’s game 😂 pic.twitter.com/luJQgLk7u5
— MC (@CrewsMat10) March 28, 2023
Before the game, the Curacao players requested that Lionel Messi give each of them a shirt, and even mentioned they would fight over it if only one was available.
A match-worn Messi shirt is considered to be the ultimate football souvenir, and it was ultimately given to goalkeeper Eloy Room.
Eloy Room, el arquero de Curazao que se quedó con la camiseta de Messi: “Los SUEÑOS se hacen REALIDAD”
“Después del partido me dijo que había tenido algunas buenas atajadas (…) No me voy a sacar la camiseta ni para dormir”. 🎙️ @arischvartzbard pic.twitter.com/qRq6OqxSxM
— TyC Sports (@TyCSports) March 29, 2023
Despite conceding seven goals, including three from arguably one of the greatest football players of all time, Room felt like a winner after swapping shirts with the Paris Saint-Germain superstar.
He even posted a picture of the 57th career hat-trick top, expressing that his dreams had come true. In addition, Room shared two pictures of himself trading shirts with Messi after the game.
Afterwards, the 34-year-old said he would be sleeping with Messi’s shirt so that no teammate tried to snatch it away from him and joked his saves to deny the former Barcelona star will look good on YouTube.
“The jersey of Messi, it’s really special,” he told TyC Sports.
“It’s unbelievable, a dream come true. Everybody is a fan of Messi. Now I’ve played against him.”
“It was a tough game, he scored some goals against me but I also saved some good shouts from him. After that he told me that, too – that I made some good saves – so that means a lot to me.”
Although Eloy Room suffered the heaviest defeat of his international career, he will always remember his 43rd cap for Curacao, especially after receiving Lionel Messi’s match-worn shirt as a souvenir.