Armed assailants attacked a store in Argentina owned by Lionel Messi’s family
A pair of gunmen fired at least a dozen shots and left a threatening message for Argentine football star Lionel Messi in a raid on a supermarket owned by his in-laws, dubbed an act of “terrorism” by a local justice official.
The attack unfolded early on Thursday morning at the Unico supermarket in the city of Rosario, Argentina – owned by the family of Messi’s wife, Antonella Roccuzzo – with two assailants arriving on a motorcycle and unleashing at least 12 shots toward the business, police said.
An ominous message was left for the professional athlete on a piece of cardboard at the store, reading “Messi, we’re waiting for you.” It also referenced a local politician, Rosario mayor Pablo Javkin, claiming he is a “drug trafficker” and would not “take care of” Messi.
There were no injuries in the shooting, which came amid a spike in violence linked to criminal groups in Rosario. Local prosecutor Federico Rebola said police were still looking into the incident, and that the investigation was still in a “preliminary stage.” He added that Thursday’s attack was the first known threat toward Messi’s family.
Santa Fe province Justice Minister Celia Arena called the shooting an act of “terrorism” carried out by a “mafia” organization.
“The aim is to deliberately cause terror in the population and discourage those of us who are fighting against criminal violence, knowing that it will be an event of global significance,” the official said.
Messi, who keeps a home in Rosario and frequently visits family there, has so far offered no comment on the incident.
Considered among the greatest footballers of all time, the 35-year-old won FIFA’s best men’s player award earlier this week. He currently plays for the French club Paris Saint-Germain, following a 20-year career with Barcelona, and finally led the national team to its first World Cup win in decades late last year.