Rousing welcome for Lionel Messi in Kolkata
Argentine superstar Lionel Messi arrived in Kolkata in the wee hours on Wednesday but more than 1500 frenzied fans were left heartbroken as securitymen whisked the Argentine superstar away through the VIP gate.
The football-crazy city did not witness the same turn-out when Diego Maradona visited about three years back as the Kolkatans then had lined up on the streets while state government officials had come to welcome him at the airport.
But the euphoria was exactly the same as the fans with many wearing the Albiceleste colours painted the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport in Dum Dum in white and sky blue.
Holding Argentina flags and lifesize Messi cutouts, the fans poured in since 2am, more than one hour in advance of the Argentine star's arrival. There were also few Tricolours seen flying high among the white and sky blue colours.
The football-crazy fans danced and cried deliriously, shouting "three cheers for Messi, three cheers for Argentina," as near stampede like scenes were witnessed outside the airport.
"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.
Photographs: Dipak Chakraborty