Argentina’s kit man is forced to make 650 Lionel Messi shirts every time the squad meets up for an international break, Aston Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez has revealed.
From fans and sponsors to players and staff, there is never a shortage of people desperate to get their hands on an official Argentina shirt featuring the name of the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner.
Martinez says he once asked the Argentina kit man how many Messi shirts he needed to produce in order to cope with the demand during a regular two-match international break.
Martinez told Amazon Prime Video: “One day I asked how many Messi shirts they have to make per game and they told me that between 200 and 300 for all the people who ask for them.
“We played two internationals and they made 650 Messi shirts ready to wear.
“The sponsors, players, staff, technicians, everyone wants one. It is a shirt of Messi.”
While Messi remains revered in his native Argentina, the 34-year-old has seen his popularity plunge in France in the wake Paris Saint-Germain’s defeat to Real Madrid in the last 16 of the Champions League.
PSG crashed out of European football’s top competition after a 3-2 aggregate loss to Madrid earlier this month.
Messi missed a penalty in the first leg at the Parc des Princes and struggled to make an impact in the reverse fixture at the Bernabeu, as a hat-trick from Karim Benzema secured a dramatic victory for Madrid.
Messi and Neymar were both booed by PSG’s supporters during their 3-0 win over Bordeaux on Sunday, while the club’s ultras sprayed graffiti on walls at the club’s training ground the following day, calling for president Nasser Al-Khelaifi and sporting director Leonardo to leave.
Messi’s boyhood club, Newell’s Old Boys, has urged the forward to leave PSG and return to Argentinian football.
The club’s English account tweeted: “Time to leave the circus and join the carnival. We’re waiting for you in the Parque, Leo. (bring Ney too – he LOVES carnivals).”
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