It’s been a tough few weeks in the life of Lionel Messi.
After the extraordinary high of winning a first World Cup with Argentina, the little genius has found the going slightly tough at Paris Saint-Germain.
Aside from an epic late free-kick winner against Lille and a few other sporadic moments of quality, Messi hasn’t looked himself since club football’s return.
Across the two legs of PSG’s Champions League last-16 tie against Bayern Munich, which they lost 3-0 on aggregate, Messi was virtually anonymous.
As such, the 35-year-old was actually jeered by his club’s fans during their surprise 2-0 loss to Rennes last Sunday.
Negativity towards Messi? In Argentina, it would be a cardinal sin these days following his magical displays at the Qatar World Cup.
The Barcelona legend scored seven goals at the tournament, which saw him win the Golden Boot award to go with the trophy itself.
To say he’s a hero in Argentina would be something of an understatement.
In fact, Messi now can’t even go for dinner in the country of his birth without being mobbed by scores of passionate fans.
Footage has emerged on social media showing the chaotic scenes outside an Argentine restaurant in which Messi and his family were dining.
And despite the fact he was mobbed like a rock star when he exited the establishment, the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner could not have looked happier.
Check out the videos…
Video: Messi was so happy while being mobbed by Argentina fans
The smile of a man who knows he is a true national hero after finally overcoming past failures.
Here are some other angles of Messi walking through the fans outside the restaurant…
Messi’s security team certainly earned their wages!
Who do Messi and Argentina play over the March international break?
Argentina are scheduled to play two friendly fixtures before the final months of the 2022/23 club season commence.
The first sees them host Panama at Monumental on March 24th, where Messi and his teammates will lift the World Cup trophy in front of over 80,000 fans.
Argentina’s second match pits them against minnows Curaçao on the 28th, a game in which Messi could significantly add to his international goal tally.
He’s currently on 98, comfortably the most ever by a South American footballer.