Shib Shankar Patra is one among thousands of die-hard Argentina fans in Kolkata but what makes 57-year-old Patra special is his weird streak. Patra like last year, has repainted the entire building in blue and white to show his support for Argentina and Messi in the ongoing FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Messi led Argentina that is all set to face France in the FIFA World Cup Final on Sunday has garnered many Indian fans over the years, with many hoping and praying for their idol to win his last FIFA match.
Patra used his life savings to watch his idol Lionel Messi from the stands during the World Cup in Russia |
Patra in 2018 was trying to save enough money from his tea stall, to watch ‘The Albiceleste’ live from the stands in Russia, during the World Cup. But he soon realised that it was a dream far away, when a Kolkata-based travel agent informed him that his savings, a princely amount of Rs 60,000 is not enough to fund his World Cup trip. The travel agent gave him a budget of Rs 1.5 lakh, but instead of being disheartened, he decided to do the next best thing– paint his entire three-story building in Argentina colours.
Patra's three storeyed house painted in Argentina colours |
Apart from that, on the first day of the 2022 World Cup, the Patra family also built a Rs 50,000 statue of Messi. They invited former Indian footballer Sangram Mukherjee for the function.
In addition, every year on Messi's birthday which is on June 24, the Patra family celebrates this day by cutting a cake that weighs as much as Messi's age.
Patra became Argentina's fan in 1986, when the greatest player in the football world, Diego Maradona, helped Argentina lift the World Cup for the second time. His love for the team and for Messi was so deep that later in 2005, when Messi started his international career, he bought a television set just to watch him play.
Patra and his family have built a satue of the former Barcelona star |
In 2011, when Messi came to India for the first time, Patra got a chance to watch Messi's game. They reached the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata to enjoy the Argentina-Venezuela friendly match. Argentina beat Venezuela 1-0 thanks to Messi's goal in this match and gave Patra a gift that he will remember for a lifetime.
The beautiful three-story building in blue and white, the flags placed on all sides of the road, a stormy crowd that gathers in the North 24 Parganas district area where Patra lives are all just signs of their love for the legendry player.
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