Suli, a 24-year-old Spaniard and Atletico Madrid fan braved the ocean and swam 1km from the shore to go meet Lionel Messi after sighting the star’s yacht in the sea at Ibiza. His efforts were rewarded when he was invited aboard for a selfie, a drink and a 20-minute chat with his idol.
Suli was enjoying himself on the shore when he noticed Messi’s yacht in the distance, he didn’t think twice about swimming all the way to the yacht with his phone secured in a plastic bag.
Messi was notified of the intruder’s arrival but he chose to meet Suli and have a chat with him over a cup of juice.
All Suli wanted was a photo with the idol, but his mobile had got soaked in the process of making the journey to the yacht and was unusable.
Messi stepped in and asked one of his boat employees to take a photo of them together that he would send to the man using one of his phones.
Speaking about the encounter, a starstruck Suli said: ‘I lost my telephone but I gained a photo with Messi. As he spoke and addressed me, he didn’t come across as a global superstar. He was very humble, very hospitable, both he and his family were wonderful.’
Messi also ensured the man arrived safely back on the shore by arranging a speedboat to take him back to the beach.
Coincidentally, Suli sighted Messi’s nemesis, Ronaldo, later that night at a nightclub but wasn’t so lucky.
‘I couldn’t even shake his hand,’ Suli said. ‘He was surrounded by security and I couldn’t get anywhere near him.’