Eloy Room has one of the most precious treasures and something that few others have: a jersey that he exchanged with Lionel Messi himself. It was the world champion who asked the Curacao goalkeeper for it at the end of a friendly match that took place in March last year.
In a statement to Voetbalzone, the goalkeeper said that during the match, despite the 7-0 drubbing by the Albiceleste and Messi’s three goals, he made several good saves and prevented a heavier scoreline.
On a couple of occasions he asked Messi for his jersey and the player said yes, but he thought that he said that to everyone.
“Everyone wants Messi’s jersey, of course. So I actually gave up hope beforehand. Cuco Martina, our captain, said before the game, ‘I want his jersey!’ Then I thought ‘Well, I can also exchange my jersey with the goalkeeper, Emiliano Martinez’. He’s a world-class goalkeeper. So I forgot about Messi,” the goalkeeper said.
“I had already made some saves on Messi and at halftime, going to the locker room, I look over and see him next to me. I took the opportunity and asked him: ‘Could you give me your shirt after the game?’ He said: ‘Yes, okay, we’ll do it when it’s over.’ I kept thinking: he must have said that to everyone, because everyone asks him. So really, I was still not expecting anything.”
Why Messi asked Room for his jersey
After a good second half from the goalkeeper that prevented Messi from scoring more goals, he finally got his reward and exchanged shirts with the now Inter Miami player, who surprised him by asking for his shirt. He then understood that it represented something important to Messi.
“He came up to me and said, ‘Well played. You’re a good goalkeeper. As I was leaving, Messi said to me: ‘But can I have your jersey too?’ And I thought: what will Messi do with my jersey? I gave it to him and we shook hands. I didn’t understand what he was going to do with my jersey.
“Then I understood when I heard from my Argentine teammate at Columbus Crew that Messi keeps jerseys that have a special meaning for him. He has a whole collection of jerseys of his rivals at home. That’s probably why he wanted mine, the one of the goalkeeper against whom he scored his 100th international goal. Maybe my shirt is somewhere in his collection.”
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