Lionel Messi, the Barçelona and Argentina footballer, has been severely criticised this morning after leaving a fan in tears.
The Argentine was in South Africa as part of the Barçelona squad who were there to play a match to commemorate 100 years since the birth of Nelson Mandela. The match, against Mamelodi Sundowns, in Johannesburg ended in a 3-1 victory for the Spanish giants, but Messi, left on the bench until the final 15 minutes, was angry.
The flashpoint came as the players were leaving the stadium after the match when a South African fan asked Messi to sign his shirt. Messi was clearly annoyed, and brushed the fan aside.
"I just asked him to sign my shirt, and he looked at me angrily. I told him that he was my favourite player, and that I've supported Barçelona all my life. I even supported them as a baby. In fact, if truth be known, I supported them even when I was in my mother's womb."
There was a gasp from the reporters. Then he went on:
"I even gave him my marker to write with, but he refused, and said something about 'payment'. I was shocked and started crying, and I haven't stopped crying since. If truth be known, I'm a bit of a crybaby."
Barthelona is in Spain.