If you have the pleasure of coming up against Lionel Messi on a football pitch, you are obviously going to do your best to get his shirt.
Recently, when Juventus kept out Barcelona at the Nou Camp and progressed to the Champions League semi-finals with a 3-0 aggregate win, the imperious defensive duo of Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci had a friendly fight over who was going to get Messi’s shirt after the game.
Chiellini may well just be moaning at his defensive partner and getting him to maintain focus in the game, but ESPN cameras captured footage of the two having a playful scrap.
The power of lip-reading suggests that Bonucci was desperate to swap shirts with Messi.
Around 13 seconds in, the subtitles, roughly translated, say that the Italian said: “Leo, can we swap shirts?”.
In the end, Bonucci won the duel and swapped shirts with the five-time Ballon d’Or winner but it turns out that Messi isn’t really into the whole act of shirt-swapping.
As quoted by Spanish language outlet Invictos, Messi noted that he has never been one to ask to swap shirts with another player and normally only swaps if an Argentine player is on the opposite team.
He did however make an exception when he came up against Zinedine Zidane in the early days of his career.
“I am not one to ask to swap shirts. I asked, once…I asked Zidane,” he said.
“I don’t ask for shirts. If there is an Argentine, I will swap with an Argentine.
“If not and there is someone else that asks me, I will swap it with them. If not, I do not look and do not ask.”
Messi, who has now scored 502 goals at Barcelona after bagging a double in victories over Real Madrid in El Clasico and bottom club Osasuna last night, recalled the time that former Real Madrid midfielder Guti asked him to swap shirts.
“Guti came and asked me. He asked me when we played here [Camp Nou] and when we played there [Santiago Bernabeu]. In both matches.”
Fair play, Lionel. Whatever suits you.