Recently, Bollywood actor Ranbir Kapoor had his birthday wish granted when iconic footballer Lionel Messi sent a personally signed jersey to the 36-year-old with the initials of his name RK written on the back along with the number eight. Now, the chief minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee will have her turn as she received a Barcelona club jersey with Didi and the number 10 written at the back, along with a message, "Best wishes for my friend Didi from Lionel Messi", as reported by TNN.
West Bengal is known for its football heritage and culture with India’s most iconic clubs Mohun Bagan and East Bengal hailing from there. The chief minister received the gift from Messi as a token of appreciation for successfully hosting the Under-17 World Cup in 2017, with it being the first time India hosted a FIFA event.
The jersey had reached the chief minister through Barcelona Legends last week. The legends team had arrived in Kolkata to play a friendly against perennial Indian powerhouse Mohun Bagan. Barcelona Legends Juliano Belletti and Jari Litmanen presented the jersey after the match concluded to the Football Next Foundation organisers, since handing it over to the CM at that point was not possible.
"They couldn't hand it over to Ms Banerjee personally, so they gave it to us. We have approached the CMO. Whenever Ms Banerjee agrees to meet us, we will hand it over to her," said the founder of the football foundation, Kaushik Moulik.
It is rare to see players of Messi’s calibre who ply their trade in legendary clubs like Barcelona across Europe coming to India but, Messi had in fact, played a friendly game for Argentina against Venezuela in 2011 at the Salt Lake Stadium.
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