Lionel Messi is known as one of the world’s finest footballers, but he has now proved that he’s an equally fine human being, after sending a gift to a journalist who had been battling cancer.
Paul Hayward, Chief Sports Writer at The Telegraph, has been fighting head and neck cancer for over a year, and wrote a piece entitled “How the genius of Lionel Messi and Dan Carter gave me hope in fighting cancer”.
Not only did Messi read the piece, he also sent a signed shirt to Hayward, emblazoned with a get well message on the number 10.
Lionel Messi sent this signed shirt after I mentioned him in a piece about illness. So kind. Thanks to all involved. pic.twitter.com/5UdXBzJDUR
— Paul Hayward (@_PaulHayward) June 1, 2016
Messi’s message roughly translates as ‘with much affection for Paul Hayward’ and comes after the journalist’s article mentioned how the Argentine’s magical run against Bayern Munich in the 2014/15 Champions League made him forget he was ill.
In the piece, Hayward writes:
Barcelona v Bayern Munich at Camp Nou, in May.
On the screen in a room short on cheer, Lionel Messi collected a pass on his left foot, turned inside then out in an impossibly narrow channel and sent Jerome Boateng, the Bayern defender, falling sideways like a felled tree.
Out came Manuel Neuer, the world’s best goalkeeper, to quash the threat with a giant, raised arm.
And Messi chipped him. Chipped one of the biggest and most intimidating men in football.
On the commentary, Martin Tyler said: “Only football can make you feel like this.” I felt myself rise from my chair, and illness fell away.
That moment will not leave my memory, because it made the world feel full of possibilities again.
And to think: philosophers have searched for uplifting human truths in the most complex of areas, yet here was a dink from the boot of Lionel Messi casting light across the world.
It just goes to show you how powerful football can be. And well done to Messi for reaching out when he really didn’t need to.