It usually takes multiple players to bring down Lionel Messi and it seems security guards are no different.
After scoring his first of two goals at Red Bell Arena in Harrison, NJ. on Tuesday night, Messi was approached by a bare-chested fan who asked him to sign his back.
While initially appearing startled, Messi obliged and started to scrawl his signature before three guards tackled the fan to the ground as more swarmed in almost barreling the superstar over.
Messi was unharmed in the incident and went on to bag another, more stellar goal, three minutes later after he was pulled down by Adrian Mariappa just outside the penalty area.
Messi spectacularly sent the kick through the defensive wall and just beyond the right arm of a sprawling Andre Blake for his ninth free-kick goal for Argentina.
It wasn’t the first moment in which Messi and a fan met on the New Jersey field as another spectator sprinted onto the field in the 65th minute and tried to take a photo with his hero.
The Argentine stood and watched as the spectator was being subdued at his feet while the fan still tried to snap an image with his cell phone.
Messi’s brace helped extend Argentina’s unbeaten streak to 35 matches over three years as they beat Jamaica 3-0 in its next-to-last World Cup warmup match.
The six-time Ballon d’Or winner was subbed on in the 56th minute and increased his career total to 90 goals in 164 international appearances with his 17th multigoal game.
‘You have to enjoy Messi,’ Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni said. ‘No matter your country, everyone does. I´m his coach, but I would buy a ticket to see him.’
‘There are no words to describe what he is,’ Julian Alvarez said. ‘Playing five, 10 minutes or all the match, he manages to do amazing things.’
Manchester City’s Alvarez put Argentina ahead after Nicolas Tagliafico passed from the flank to Martínez, who spun around Leon Bailey to open space and centered to the 22-year-old Alvarez. He slotted past Blake for his second goal in 11 international appearances.
Heading to its 13th straight World Cup, Argentina seeks to add to championships it won in 1978 with Mario Kempes and 1986 with Diego Maradona. Argentina has one remaining friendly, against the United Arab Emirates on Nov. 16 at Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
At the World Cup in Qatar, Argentina opens against Saudi Arabia, which tied the United States 0-0 in an exhibition Tuesday, and then plays Mexico and Poland.
Argentina has 25 wins, including one on penalty kicks, and 10 draws since a 2-0 loss to Brazil at the Copa América on July 2, 2019.