The football magician Lionel Messi arrived in Kolkata early Wednesday to take part in the FIFA international friendly match against Venezuela, which will be played at the Salt Lake Stadium on Sept. 2.
The Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport was turned into a mini football stadium with more than 2,000 fans who had gathered since midnight. Donning Argentina team jersey and carrying flags of the Latin American country, diehard Messi fans defied rain to welcome the Argentine football star, but left brokenhearted as they could not catch a glimpse of their hero. Messi arrived amid stringent security and was driven immediately to the team hotel from the airport tarmac itself.
After the Kolkata match, the Argentina team will fly to Dhaka to play another friendly match against Nigeria on Sept. 6.
Tickets of the match range from Rs. 1,000 to around Rs. 5,000 which surprises the Kolkata soccer lovers, as for years, they have never paid more than Rs. 40 to Rs. 50 for watching games of the top clubs like East Bengal and Mohun Bagan. However, the promoter of the match, the Celebrity Management Group, plans to sell tickets for Argentina's practice session too in a much lesser price for fans who cannot afford the highly priced match tickets.
During their four-day stay in Kolkata, Messi and his fellow teammates will take part in a number of other events including a day visit to a clinic with kids and other charity functions.