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Messi arrives to mesmerise fans in Kolkata

Last updated on: August 31, 2011 16:14 IST

Messi arrives to mesmerise fans in Kolkata

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Lionel Messi kept his date with India as he landed in the football-crazy city of Kolkata in the wee hours of Wednesday.

However, his hysterical fans missed a glimpse of the Barcelona star, who came via Qatar and landed in the city at 3.15 am.

Messi and teammate Javier Mascherano came after the rest of their teammates, as they were held back for their La Liga match against Villareal on Monday.

More than 30 members of the Argentine delegation including coach, Alejandro Sabella have already checked in.

Venezuela team members too landed in the city on Tuesday morning.


Image: Lionel Messi arrives at the Kolkata international airport amid tight security
Photographs: Dipak Chakraborty
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Messi makes hush-hush exit from airport

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More than a thousand Messi supporters many wearing his No 10 jersey started pouring into the airport from 2 am onwards.

The fans danced in the rain, shouted slogans of 'Three Cheers for Messi', held lifesize Messi placards as delirious scenes were witnessed outside the main gate of the International terminal.

But nobody had a clue from which gate Messi was being brought out.

No one including the hordes of media persons gathered at the airport could get any information about Messi's movement as the Argentine superstar and his Barca teammate Mascherano along with three other Venezuelans were taken out discreetly under heavy security cover.

They made a hush-hush exit from the VIP gate amid high security without anybody's notice.


Image: A Messi fan holds up a Messi poster outside the Kolkata airport
Photographs: Dipak Chakraborty
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'Nobody had an idea through which gate he would be taken out'

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Confirming Messi's arrival, organisers of the Argentina vs Venezuela match, Celebrity Management Group said Messi was taken out in a total hush-hush manner.

"Yes Messi has finally arrived along with Mascherano and three from Venezuela. Nobody had an idea through which gate he would be taken out," Bhaswar Goswami, executive director of CMG, told media persons.

Accompanied by Mascherano, Messi was sporting a white T-shirt as he completed the formalities with the Customs before being taken out of Gate No 5.


Image: Messi's fans wait to catch a glimpse of the star at the Kolkata airport
Photographs: Dipak Chakraborty
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'I will faint if I see the god of football'

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"It's an achievement for Kolkata. I don't know what will happen to me when I see the god of football. Perhaps, I will faint," ardent Messi fans Arindam Ghosh and Uttam Saha who were part of a 50-member team of Bidrohi Club in Baghajatin stated.

With the airport exit witnessing delirious scenes, the security seemed to be a concern to bring Messi out of the terminal to the team vehicles parked outside.

Goswami also said that Messi was deliberately made to stand at the immigration for long time.

"It's all their handiwork. He was made to stand at the immigration for quite a long time. They all wanted to have a share of Messi," Goswami said.

"Right from the immigration official to security personnel, everybody started posing with Messi. There were many others who were inside the airport to have a glimpse of Messi," Goswami said.

He said Messi handled the situation sportingly, with a broad smile.

"When he came out of the flight, many almost fell over him. There were loud shouts of Messi, Messi. The excitement was everywhere."

The Argentina team will have their first official practice under coach Sabella on Wednesday evening. They will take on Venezuela in their FIFA international friendly against Venezuela on September 2 before flying to Dhaka for another outing against Nigeria (September 6).


Image: Fans hold up Argentina's national flag as they await the arrival of Lionel Messi at Kolkata airport
Photographs: Dipak Chakraborty
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