11-year-old boy from London spent holiday playing football with Lionel Messi


Imagine not only bumping into Lionel Messi while on holiday, but then getting the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play football with him.

This is what happened to 11-year-old Mackenzie O’Neill last week.

The youngster from north London was one of three kids filmed playing football with Messi and the Barcelona superstar’s son, Thiago, on a beach in Antigua.

Mackenzie was tracked down and interviewed by Argentinian sports daily Ole.

He said that he was invited to play football by the Messi family when he started playing with a ball near where they were relaxing.

“Messi was with his family on the beach. I was on my own and began to kick my ball a few feet from where they were,” he told Ole, per the Evening Standard.

“His dad Jorge threw a ball to me and asked if I wanted to play with them and then we played football with Thiago and Messi for 45 minutes.”

Watch the footage here…

“Thiago is a fantastic player for his age and wasn’t shy about playing,” Mackenzie continued. “Playing with Messi was incredible.

“Messi’s wife [Antonella] translated because she speaks English very well. Later on I ended up swimming with Messi and we went out on a little boat and spent a lot of time in the water.”


What an incredible experience.

Asked if he’d received any advice from Messi about football, he added: “No, because he doesn’t speak English, but seeing how skilful he was was enough advice for me.

“Playing with Leo in the water was great fun. He acted like a normal dad. I also realised that Messi really enjoyed seeing his son play with other children.”


That’s an interesting - and, in a way, quite a sad - point. Messi probably doesn’t see his children play with many ‘ordinary’ kids their own age because they’re so famous.

Mackenzie also revealed that Messi and his family waved them off when their holiday came to an end.

He said: “The last night Messi and his family were here I was playing with Thiago and gave him my football to keep.


“But he ran after me along the beach and insisted I keep it. Afterwards Messi and his wife said goodbye to me with huge smiles. I am not going to forget them.”

What a lucky young man.

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