An 11-year-old’s entire life was just made thanks to a trip to the beach, a soccer ball, and none other than Lionel Messi.
Mackenzie O’Neill was on a family vacation in Antigua playing soccer on the beach, which he did most days.
Then, like something out of a beer commercial, there was Messi.
The Messi held up a soccer ball — imagine this in slow motion, the sun behind him and the ocean glistening — and gestured to Mackenzie, asking if he wanted to play. As if Mackenzie, who plays soccer as a goalkeeper, would ever say no.
“I wasn’t nervous!” he told CNN. “I was a bit shy at first but then just did what I love doing best.”
The two, along with Messi’s son Thiago, played soccer for about 40 minutes. The F.C. Barcelona soccer star won, fair and square, but not before Mackenzie got two goals on him.
“It was incredible to see him move,” Mackenzie said. “He wasn’t bothered about actually playing, but the best part was I almost nut-megged him!”
Yeah, best vacation ever for sure.
Messi didn’t speak much English, Mackenzie said, but his wife translated for him. And it wasn’t just the one shootaround — Mackenzie hung out with Messi and his family for a couple days while their stays in Antigua overlapped.
Other kids tried to play with Messi but, alas, it was a no-go. Not everyone is as lucky as Mackenzie.
On Messi’s last day in Antigua, Mackenzie played one last time with Thiago while Messi stood off to the side, watching.
“He looked like he was just happy to see his kid playing normally with another kid,” Mackenzie said.
Cue the awwwwwwwwwww.