Teen’s ‘attack’ on Messi a ‘misunderstanding’

THE mother of a teenager accused of trying to attack Champions League hero Lionel Messi has insisted he tripped as he went to greet him.

The Barcelona star was reported to have been hit on Thursday as he signed autographs outside a restaurant in his native city of Rosario, Argentina.

A 17-year-old fan of Rosario Central, the bitter rivals of Messi’s childhood club Newell’s Old Boys, was quickly identified as the alleged attacker after fleeing the scene.

But his mother yesterday claimed it had all been a misunderstanding.

Silvia van Donselaar, whose son is called Martin, told local paper La Capital: “Martin never intended to hit Leo.

“He got very excited when he saw him and wanted to go up to him to hug him,” she claimed. “But because he’s such a clumsy oaf, he tripped.

“He ran away afterwards because he was frightened.”

Insisting the teenager was not a Rosario Central supporter, she added: “He’s not got a favourite club. He doesn’t really follow football.

“I’m more of a football fan than he is.

“I’m really sorry about everything that’s happened. I’m personally going to apologise to Messi and his family.

“Martin is shocked about the repercussions this incident has had.”

Messi calmed worried fans by insisting he had not been touched.

In a message posted on his Facebook page and website yesterday, he said: “It’s been reported in several media outlets that I received a blow as I left a restaurant in Rosario.

“To put the minds of all those people who have asked about what happened at rest, I’d like to say that I’ve not been hit by anyone.

“I’m perfectly okay. I have been left surprised by the storm all this has created.

“Many thanks anyway for all your messages of support,” Messi added.

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