Nazia of Banani could not believe her own eyes as she met Lionel Messi in person on Tuesday night at the Ruposhi Bangla hotel’s lobby. The Argentina captain, who is usually very shy, was in jovial and friendly mood after he guided his side to victory over Nigeria.
Some twenty to twenty-five fans, mostly young, waited at the lobby till late in the night for a glimpse of the magical Barcelona forward. And their prayers were answered as at around 1 am, Messi went wandering about in the lobby.
Nazia could not let this opportunity slip and as she took one of the No. 10 shirts of Messi and had the best player in the world sign an autograph on it.
After a cherishable win on the night, the Argentina players were in a jovial mood as they were seen going through the shops at the hotel to collect memorabilia of their Dhaka sojourn.
Later the team left Dhaka in a couple of instalments. Captain Lionel Messi, along with 26 players and officials, were the first to leave by a 4:40am Qatar Airways flight. The troupe flew for Doha from where they will be leaving for their respective clubs. The technical director and support staff of the Argentina team left Dhaka on a different flight.
Meanwhile, Messi’s opposite number Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel, had to take some trouble for his flight to London. Mikel went to the airport from where he was supposed to fly to London on a 2am flight, but a mistake from the ticketing agent had him waiting for some hours more. Mikel came back to the hotel and left on a later flight at around 7am, with a few more players.
The rest of the Nigeria squad left by two more instalments, one at 7 pm on Wednesday and the last two hours later. Meanwhile, a hotel source said that the Nigerians were heard grunting among themselves about the lack of support they received from the local fans.
-With The Daily Star input