Kolkata football fans await Messi's magic
Football superstar Lionel Messi is set to unfold his magic when he leads Argentina in the FIFA international friendly against Venezuela in Kolkata on Friday evening.
History will be scripted at the 120,000-capacity Yuba Bharati Krirangan at Salt Lake when the two-time World champions, with the world's best footballer in their ranks, take on their South American rivals.
The 24-year-old Messi, twice World Footballer of the Year and nicknamed 'The Flea', will be cynosure of all eyes for the football-crazy city that had in the past hosted the likes of Pele, Oliver Kahn, Diego Maradona, Gerd Muller and Diego Forlan.
The response of the football fans has not been as overwhelming as compared to Pele's visit with Cosmos for an exhibition fixture against Mohun Bagan in 1977, or, more recently, the euphoria generated by Maradona.
After their debacle in Copa America where they are champions 14 times but failed to get past quarter-finals this time in July, Argentina are in process of rebuilding their side under Sabella with an eye on 2014 World Cup.
From here the Argentines travel to Dhaka for a second friendly against Nigeria on September 6.
The Kick-off is at 1900 IST, and the match will be telecast live on ESPN.