According to a report from The Washington Post, gunmen in Lionel Messi’s Argentine hometown of Rosario fired shots at a supermarket owned by his wife’s family. The incident took place in the early hours of Thursday morning. The men also left a message for the Paris-Saint-Germain player that said they were “waiting” for him.
The Unico supermarket has been owned by the family of Antonella Rocuzzo since the 1980s. She married the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner in 2017. Police said that two men on a motorcycle fired fourteen shots into the metal shutters and front door of the supermarket, before leaving a message written on a piece of cardboard. It was addressed to the 2022 World Cup winner:
“Messi, we’re waiting for you. [Pablo] Javkin (mayor of Rosario) is a drug trafficker, so he won’t take care of you.”
The store stayed closed for the day, and Mayor Pablo Javkin attended the scene, where he publicly condemned the attack. Rosario, a city of more than 1.5 million people, is Argentina’s most dangerous city, the site of more than 280 homicides in 2022 alone. In January, there were at least 39.
The attackers’ motives are as yet unclear, but a local TV station has speculated that the men were attempting to extort money from the former Barcelona man. Messi is expected back in Argentina in late March, as they face both Panama and Curaçao in international friendlies. He has not commented on the incident.
GFFN | Brendan Cox