World Cup winner Lionel Messi was mobbed by fans in his native Argentina whilst having dinner with his family.
The 35-year-old was already a national hero before he led Argentina to the World Cup in Qatar in December, and it was almost inevitable that an enormous crowd of fans would gather to catch of glimpse of the star.
Messi, his wife Antonela Roccuzzo and their children were eating dinner at Don Julio, a restaurant in the Palermo district of Buenos Aires, but were unable to end their meal in peace after news spread that Messi was in the area.
Messi and his family were escorted from the restaurant by local police officers amid a throng of adoring fans, but the PSG star looked in high spirits, much to the delight of his fans.
One admirer, who caught Messi’s exit on video, tweeted in Spanish: ‘Messi in Don Julio. Any Monday night in Palermo.
‘Thanks for looking at me 10, I can die in peace.’
While the Messi family were dining, a sea of people beyond Don Julio’s windows surged forward to try and take pictures of the icon.
The player previously attracted enormous crowds in his home city Rosario, 180 miles northwest of Buenos Aires, in the aftermath of the World Cup final, with fans swamping his car as he sought to attend his niece’s birthday party.
Messi was forced to evacuate the team’s winners’ parade in Buenos Aires due to safety concerns.
The PSG forward is back in his home country for the international break after being named in the Argentina squad that will face Panama and Curacao in upcoming friendlies.
But ahead of joining up with the Argentina camp, Messi found time to enjoy a meal at the steak restaurant ranked 13th on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list.
His return comes just weeks after his in-laws’ supermarket in Rosario was attacked.
Fourteen shots were reportedly fired at the supermarket, and the perpetrators are said to have left a chilling threat directed at the PSG man, in the form of a message which read: ‘Messi, Javkin is not going to look after you’.
Pablo Javkin is the current mayor of Rosario.
Messi has been linked with a move away from PSG when his contract expires in the summer.
Reports over the weekend, when Messi played in PSG’s 2-0 home defeat to Rennes, suggested that the PSG hierarchy were having second thoughts about extending the player’s deal at the end of the campaign.
Should the club and the player come to the decision that he should move on from the Parisian outfit, Saudi Arabian club Al-Hilal, David Beckham-owned MLS side Inter Miami and former paymasters Barcelona are all said to be interested in the Argentine.