Soccer game

Lionel Messi surprises 11-year-old with spontaneous football game

Mackenzie O’Neill was on a family vacation in Antigua and was playing football on the beach, which he did almost every day.

Then, like in a beer commercial, there was Messi.

The Messi held up a soccer ball – imagine that in slow motion, the sun behind him and the ocean shimmering – and waved at Mackenzie, asking if he wanted to play. As if Mackenzie, who plays soccer as a goalie, would ever say no.

“I wasn’t nervous!” he told CNN. “I was a little shy at first, but then I just did what I love to do best.”

The two, along with Messi’s son Thiago, played football for around 40 minutes. The FC Barcelona soccer star won, fair and square, but not before Mackenzie scored twice against him.

“It was amazing to see him move,” Mackenzie said. “He didn’t mind playing, but the best part was I almost drove him crazy!”

Yeah, best vacation ever, for sure.

Messi didn’t speak much English, Mackenzie said, but his wife translated for him. And it wasn’t just the only shooting – Mackenzie spent time with Messi and his family for a few days as their stays in Antigua overlapped.

Other children tried to play with Messi but, alas, it was forbidden. Not everyone has the same luck as Mackenzie.

On Messi’s last day in Antigua, Mackenzie played one last time with Thiago as Messi stood to the side, watching.

“He just seemed happy to see his kid playing normally with another kid,” Mackenzie said.

Cue it awwwwwwwwwwwww.