Lionel Messi had very different reactions to shirt swap requests from two wonderkids

Lionel Messi is not known to swap his shirt often (Image: Getty)

Chelsea’s new recruit Kendry Paez will treasure the memory of swapping shirts with football icon Lionel Messi, yet Alphonso Davies of Bayern Munich and ex-Manchester United talent Angel Gomes encountered vastly different outcomes in their quests for the Argentinian’s jersey.

While Paez celebrated a successful exchange after Argentina’s narrow victory over Ecuador at the weekend, Davies was left empty-handed as Messi declined his request following Barcelona’s crushing 8-2 defeat to Bayern in the 2020 Champions League.

In stark contrast, Gomes not only secured Messi’s coveted shirt but also had the honour of the PSG superstar asking for his jersey in return. Davies shared his disappointment, admitting that despite his efforts post-match during the infamous Champions League rout, Messi, evidently still reeling from the loss, wasn’t in the mood to swap shirts.

Davies expressed his understanding of the situation, optimistically noting, “Yeah, I asked for it, but I think he was a little upset. It’s OK, though. Next time, hopefully.”

Former United prodigy Gomes, now plying his trade for Lille in France’s top flight, has a distinct experience of exchanging jerseys with global football star Messi. The English U21 international, who was part of Manchester United from 2017-2020, candidly recounted his anecdote of facing the seven-time Ballon d’Or recipient during a clash between Lille and PSG in February 2022, reports the Mirror.

Notably, this included the aftermath of summoning the nerve to request the Argentine’s shirt post-match. In May 2023, Gomes confessed to Football Focus: “It was just like a fanboy moment, I can’t lie. [He] gave me his shirt, he took his T-shirt off and he gave it to me. And for me, I was like, ‘All right, happy days’, like cheers. And he was like, ‘Wait, are you not giving me your shirt?”.

Gomes went up against Messi when Lille took on PSG (Image: Getty)

“I was like, ‘What, you want my shirt? ! ‘ He was like, ‘Yeah’, so I was like, ‘All right’. From watching him on TV, watching videos of him actually playing, to playing against him and getting his shirt, it was surreal for me.”

A noteworthy testament to Gomes’ achievement is highlighted by the fact that Inter Miami player Messi is not known for swapping shirts and has requested a shirt once, specifically with Real Madrid icon Zinedine Zidane.

Davies had his request for Messi’s shirt turned down by the Argentinian (Image: Getty)

Despite the plethora of shirt exchange proposals Messi typically encounters post-match, the superstar revealed during an interview on Argentine television: “I don’t ask for shirts, I usually swap them, but I asked [Zinedane] Zidane once. If there is an Argentine I swap it with him, but, unless someone asks me, I’m not asking anyone.”

Messi, in a candid chat with the Miami Herald, also revealed the special place he keeps his treasured collection of football shirts, including Gomes’ jersey: “I have them all saved in my house, in Barcelona, where I have all the important mementoes of my career.”