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Lionel Messi Mesmerizes Fans In Kolkata

PTI 31 Aug 2011, 17:48:10 IST

Kolkata, Aug 31: Argentine superstar Lionel Messi arrived in the wee hours today but more than 1500 frenzied die-hard supporters and hordes of mediamen who stayed awake throughout the night were left heartbroken without getting a glimpse of the Argentine superstar who made a hush-hush exit from the VIP gate amid high security without anybody's notice.

The football-mad city however 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.

The Barcelona star  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 Lal 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.