Imagine you’re a massive football fan, chilling on a beach in Antigua, and a professional footballer asks if you want to join him for a kick-around.
Now imagine that footballer is Lionel Messi, arguably the greatest player of all time, and you can understand why 11-year-old Mackenzie O’Neill is so stoked with life right now.
Mackenzie, who was on a family vacation, was playing on the beach when things stepped up a notch.
Here’s CNN with a rather over the top description of how the story unfolded:
…like something out of a beer commercial, there was Messi.
The Messi held up a soccer ball — imagine this in slow motion, the sun behind him and the ocean glistening — and gestured to Mackenzie, asking if he wanted to play. As if Mackenzie, who plays soccer as a goalkeeper, would ever say no.
“I wasn’t nervous!” he told CNN. “I was a bit shy at first but then just did what I love doing best.”
The two, along with Messi’s son Thiago, played soccer for about 40 minutes. The F.C. Barcelona soccer star won, fair and square, but not before Mackenzie got two goals on him.
“It was incredible to see him move,” Mackenzie said. “He wasn’t bothered about actually playing, but the best part was I almost nut-megged him!”
It will be a while before Mackenzie can crack a few cold beers with his mates, but there’s a story that he can tell time and time again.
He even has the footage to prove it:
Still a more adept defensive set-up than Barcelona in the second leg of the Champions League semi-final this past season.
Mackenzie actually hung out with Messi and his family for a few more days, while their stays in Antigua overlapped. Although the footballing great’s English can be a little patchy, his wife, Antonella Roccuzzo, was on hand to help with translating.
CNN finishes their article as follows:
On Messi’s last day in Antigua, Mackenzie played one last time with Thiago while Messi stood off to the side, watching.
“He looked like he was just happy to see his kid playing normally with another kid,” Mackenzie said.
Cue the awwwwwwwwwww.
See, he’s just a normal guy like the rest of us, other than his supreme talent and earnings of $127 million this past year.
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