Watch: Pitch Invader Hugs Lionel Messi, High-Fives Emi Martinez In Argentina's Friendly Win
The young fan was ultimately caught by the security, and hauled away by both arms and legs.
Argentina captain Lionel Messi scored the quickest goal of his career as he inspired the world champions to a 2-0 friendly win over Australia in Beijing on Thursday. Ahead of the match, hundreds of fans massed outside the team's luxury hotel and lined heavily guarded streets in the hope of catching a glimpse of their hero. During the match, Messi was hugged by a pitch invader but the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner was unfazed by the fan's presence on the pitch.
Messi and Rodrigo de Paul were heading towards the byline for Argentina's corner kick but a fan, who was wearing an Argentina jersey with Messi's name and number on his back, came out of nowhere and hugged the 35-year-old.
However, the moment was interrupted by the approaching security personnels and the fan had to quickly escape from the scene.
After toying with the security for a good minute or two, during which he also managed to get a high-five from Argentina's goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez, the young fan was ultimately caught by the security, and hauled away by both arms and legs.
Leo Messi (@LoinelMessiFan) June 15, 2023
Messi is idolised in football-mad China, whose underperforming national team and struggling domestic league are chronic sources of disappointment.
Thousands greeted the Argentina captain's every touch with roars of anticipation that built to a crescendo when he put his team into their quick-fire lead.
Messi did not stop to speak to journalists gathered in the stadium shortly after he left the team dressing room.
The global superstar has kept a low profile in the Chinese capital, save for some commercial engagements in which he confirmed the 2022 World Cup was probably his last.
But the local excitement around the Argentine legend ratcheted up in recent days as the sell-out match drew nearer.
(With AFP Inputs)