Lionel Messi rarely swaps his shirt, yet the Argentine was more than happy to hand his jersey to Angel Gomes after Paris Saint-Germain’s win against Lille on Sunday
The football icon approached Gomes, took his shirt off and handed it to him. The former Manchester United ace then gave Messi his jersey and a respectful embrace.
Gomes later revealed he’d asked Messi for his shirt. The talent is one of the lucky few to receive the Argentine’s jersey, as he doesn’t often give it to an opposing player.
Messi appeared to refuse Mitchell van Bergen’s request for his shirt following his PSG debut against Reims in August.
“I don’t ask for shirts, I usually swap them, but I asked [Zinedane] Zidane once,” said the Barcelona icon last year.
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“If there is an Argentine I swap it with him, but, unless someone asks me, I’m not asking anyone.”
Messi scored during PSG’s victory against Lille, finding the back of the net for just the second time in Ligue 1 since his move from Barcelona last summer.
Although the forward has struggled domestically, he’s done well in the Champions League – scoring five goals in as many games.
PSG will be hoping Messi – who won a record seventh Ballon d’Or last year – is at his brilliant best when they face Real Madrid in Europe’s elite competition later this month.
The French outfit have never won the Champions League, losing the 2020 final to Bayern Munich. Messi, meanwhile, has four European crowns to his name.
Gomes, who was born in London, came through the ranks at Old Trafford and made 10 senior appearances in all competitions before joining Lille in August 2020.
The 21-year-old spent last season on loan at Portuguese side Boavista and is an England U21 international, although he is also eligible to represent Angola and Portugal.
Gomes is best known for helping England’s U17 team win the World Cup in 2017. He was Steve Cooper’s captain for the tournament but didn’t start the final against Spain.
Man Utd did offer the youngster a new deal and previous manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer publicly admitted he wanted him to stay at Old Trafford.
“With Angel, he’s a top top kid we’ve had in the club for so many years,” said Solskjaer in June 2020, just weeks before the player’s departure.
Manchester United via Getty Imag)
“We’ve offered him a deal, hopefully he’ll take that. If not I’ll wish him all the best.”
Speaking to The Independent about his Man Utd exit in November 2020, Gomes said: “It’s such a special club but I just wanted to be able to play and express myself.
“I was offered a great contract, I had all my family and friends around me, but I decided that I was willing to sacrifice that to pursue a different path.
“It’s hard to understand how difficult a decision that was. I’m still a United fan. I still watch every game now, whether it’s the first team or the U18s.
“I could have stayed and gone out on loan but it just felt like I needed a fresh start.
“I had the right people around me and I stayed grounded, but when you hit a few lows it starts to build up on you. I wanted to get back to where I was and find happiness in my football.”