An agonizing wait to catch a glimpse of Messi!

Argentina's Lionel Messi during a training session. File photo: Reuters/Amr Alfiky

Hundreds of journalists from across the globe were in attendance at the Qatar University's football training facility on Saturday. All of them were waiting for Argentina's training session to begin and catch a glimpse of Lionel Messi.

The likes of Paulo Dybala and Lautaro Martinez were on the pitch doing warm-up drills, but all the cameras zoomed in on the entrance at Argentina's base camp. Several minutes passed, but Messi did not turn up.

The long wait was frustrating. Suddenly, a British journalist sitting in the gallery announced: "Messi will miss the World Cup!" As there was complete silence, his voice was loud enough to be heard by everyone. His joke did not go down well with the journalists and cameramen sitting around him. They all craned their neck and looked at him furiously.

Luckily for him, Messi stepped onto the field just four minutes before the end of the time allowed for the media to cover the training session. The sound of camera clicks filled the air as Messi walked towards the team's assistant coach standing at the eastern corner of the ground. For some time, he calmly walked on the pitch, unperturbed by the noise around him. Then he joined his teammates on the ground and did some ball control drills.

The assistant coach glanced at his watch. As the time allowed for mediapersons ended, we started leaving the arena. When I smiled at the man who made that 'unforgivable' comment, he smiled back and gave me a thumbs up. I think the poor fellow too was a Messi fan!

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