HOBOKEN, New Jersey (WABC) — They call it Messi-mania. Crowds of fans sprinted from one side of Hoboken’s W hotel to the other on Friday night, hoping to catch a glimpse of the superstar athlete.
“He’s the best futbol player in the world, and it’s a dream to meet him and he’s stepping right in my state,” said 11-year-old Mason Rivera.
It is a once-in-a-lifetime chance for fans, anxiously waiting to snap a shot as the team buses rolled into the hotel.
Rivera has all the Messi memorabilia you can imagine – everything but an autograph.
“That would mean the world to me,” he says.
The world-renowned soccer player is staying at the hotel with his team, Inter Miami, ahead of their game against the New York Red Bulls in Harrison on Saturday. With the cheapest tickets going for more than $400, this was some fans’ only shot.
“I said, well, if we can’t go to the game, we’re gonna come out here. We’re gonna try to see him some way, somehow,” said Erika Escobar.
However, how much of Messi fans get to see this weekend seems to be up in the air. After an exhausting schedule and road trip, the club’s manager says his star player may need some rest, leaving some fans a bit deflated.
“Maybe he’ll start from the bench or not, but we will see,” said Juan Morgan.
Fans are holding on to hope, though – many with one simple goal.
“Just to catch a glimpse, hoping we will see him walk to his bus. That will be enough for most of us,” said Saurabh Bhise.
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