Felicitación Leo, or Felicitats in his adopted Catalan, It’s Coming Home Messi’s Homecoming.
It has been largely ignored in the UK but there has been another football match taking place this weekend.
King of South America
Messi has been scratching an itch for some time now.
That his great rival Portugal hero Cristiano Ronaldo has won his continent’s competition, and he hasn’t.
Scratch no more Leo, the Copa is yours. after Argentina’s 1-0 victory over Brazil in the early hours of this morning.
The One Ronnie
Alas, not in person, but in the ubiquitous paraphernalia in those countries (and I freely give Catalonia that status).
You may usually come for the sun in Portugal but you will soon realise the importance of football.
In the land of Fado and Fatima, Coimbra and Fatima.
Where in amongst the tables of Our Lady statuettes and trinkets sat a beach towel of that other hallowed figure, Cristiano Ronaldo.
What is it about religious pilgrimages that the religion of football sits alongside it so easily?
Italians worship both Gods equally and the shops outside the Vatican are a wash of colour.
Make a wish
Yellow and white Holy See and yellow and reds AS Roma.
And where Francesco Totti noddy dolls are all the rage although Ciro Immobile figures will no doubt be sharing the tables now.
Immobile’s team Lazio are named after the province in which Rome sits and both clubs share the Olympic Stadium.
Although you’ll see more light blue flags and scarves the more you get out into the country.
You’ll see the power and pull of football in Medjugorje too where Croatia captain Luka Modric is idolised.
Now, granted I have taken a circuitous route here.
Before eventually reaching the Great Man.
So back to Messi’s Homecoming…
Leo’s a big teddy bear
Now Argentina is a pleasure I’ve yet to enjoy, and will, but Messi’s home now is Barcelona.
Where if you can’t get up close and personal with Leo you can cuddle a Messi bear.
Now noddy statuettes of the England players will already be in production.
And don’t be surprised to see them sharing tables, shelves and shops with the Queen soon.
But until it happens today belongs to the Little Maestro.
It’s Coming Home Messi’s Homecoming.