The coach of Newell’s Old Boys of Rosario, former Argentina international Gabriel Heinze, said on Thursday that the threat from a group of drug traffickers to Leo Messi and his family distances the Rosarino star from his home country.
A shop belonging to Messi‘s in-laws in Rosario was shot at by a group of drug traffickers in the early hours of Thursday morning.
“This is an attack on everything, on every person and everything that this is,” Heinze, who shared a dressing room with Messi for the national team between 2005 and 2010, said.
“Of course, this alienates Leo and anyone else.
“We are talking about this because it’s Leo, but there are also many guys who would like to return (to Argentina).”
Message to Messi
In addition to the shots, a message dedicated to the captain of the Argentine national team was found at the scene.
“Messi we are waiting for you, (the mayor of Rosario, Pablo) Javkin is also a drug dealer, he will not take care of you,” it read.
“We are talking about him being our player, also because of the relationship I have (with Messi), but it’s crazy all this and it makes you think a lot of things,” Heinze said.
The former Manchester United, Real Madrid, Olympique Marseille and Roma player, among other teams, returned to his native country in 2015 to coach Godoy Cruz.
“It’s irresponsible of me, but it’s the truth, I didn’t think about it,” he responded when asked by security concerns when he returned to the country.
“I was driven to other things by the decision, but I do recognise that it is irresponsible on my part.”
The Rosario club, where Messi played at youth level before moving to Barcelona, is frequently cited as one of the possible destinations for La Pulga’s retirement from the game.
Rosario – where Messi regularly celebrates the Christmas holidays and owns a house in a gated community with his family – is considered the most violence-ridden city in Argentina, especially by drug gangs.