Lionel Messi wore a ‘lucky red ribbon’ during the FIFA World Cup 2022 campaign with Argentina. He was first gifted the ribbon by a reporter in Russia during the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Often branded as ‘one of the greatest of all time’, Lionel Messi wowed the football gods in Qatar as he went on to lift his maiden FIFA World Cup title with Argentina. After losing the opening match of the tournament to Saudi Arabia, Argentina and Messi went through a testing period where a single defeat would’ve resulted in their elimination from the tournament. In what was a roller-coaster of a ride to the trophy, Messi’s men battled through extreme situations to eventually bag the ‘most prestigious award in world football’. But, was it just hard work?
At a stage as big as the FIFA World Cup, there’s little separating the teams. It is often those minute details that decide which side will emerge victorious. Argentina didn’t just have Messi at their side to bail them out of tricky situations but also ‘a lucky red ribbon’.
Messi is the kind of footballer who has fans all over the globe. Even journalists and reporters who interview him often express their admiration for what he can do on the field. Such an incident unfolded in 2018 during the FIFA World Cup in Russia where a journalist gave Messi a ‘lucky red ribbon’ that his mother had asked him to give to the then-Barcelona footballer.
“My mum loves you more than she loves me, I carry her red ribbon for good luck. If you want it, I can give it to you,” the reporter said. In response, Messi said: “Yeah, sure!”
The reporter then added: “It’s from my mum so please keep it safe.”
Since that occasion, Messi has always had the red ribbon wrapped around his left ankle.
The reporter and Messi came across each other again after the forward had scored a goal against Nigeria.
The reporter asked: “I don’t know if you remember, but my mum gave you a ribbon.”
Messi responded saying, “Look at this”, as he showed the ribbon, wrapped around his ankle, to the reporter.
The reporter was elated to see that and said: “No way, No way! Did you really wear the red ribbon around your ankle?”
Messi then said: “Yes, here it is.” The reporter, on camera, then said: “Dear Mommy, Messi wore it!”
Since then, Messi is said to have shared it with a few of his teammates, both at the club and international levels when they were going through a rough patch.
Four years on from the incident, Messi was even spotted wearing the red ribbon around his left ankle at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Even when Messi posed with the World Cup trophy after winning the final against France, the red ribbon could be seen around his left ankle.
While there’s no denying that Argentina and Messi won the World Cup with their hard work, talent and hunger, the sheer respect with which the 7-time Ballon d’Or winner has worn the gift from a reporter and honoured his words, is a win in itself.