A Messi fan travels with him to Kolkata on same flight but fails to capture his heros photograph

TAPAN MOHANTA Kolkata

Muscat- based marine engineer Amrit Sarkar who boarded Qatar Airwaysalt39flight No QR 294 will fore

ver remember his flight from Doha to Kolkata as you donalt39t always have the privilege of being co- passenger of worlds best footballer Lionel Messi.

However for Sarkar, it will be a regret all his life as he was late in taking his SLR camera out, which could have given an opportunity to have a snap that will be forever etched in his memory.

The wildlife photographer and enthusiast, couldnalt39t click a photograph Messi was surrounded by hordes of airport officials before being taken out of the airport discreetly.

‘Oh My God, was my first reaction when I saw Messi just hands away from me. I was just completing my check- out formalities when a noise diverted my attention to short fellow.

He was wearing a white Tshirt and a grey shorts with a pair of flip- flops. He was extremely casual. I could not believe my eyes when I saw the legend just near me. But by the time I could take out my SLR camera he had disappeared,’Sarkar told PTI, at the airport lobby, waiting for his in- laws.

He said he will always regret this moment in life.

‘Never had I thought I would land up in the same flight as Messi. At the Doha airport though we felt that there was something. The airport officials started the security check pretty early.”We were made to board the flight about half- an hour in advance.

Everybody felt that something was happening but we didnalt39t know what exactly it was. But we never imagined that its all for Messi. The flight left at the scheduled 7: 40pm local time and it was on time,’Sarkar said.

‘He was in the business class on the same floor as it was a small flight. But we did not have any clue that Messi was sitting next to us. No wonder that so many people have gathered here even in this odd hour of 3: 15 am.”Its a lost opportunity,’but Sarkar said he would like to make it up for it by booking the tickets for the Argentina vs Venezuela match.

When told that tickets are still available for the International friendly, Sarkar appeared excited.

‘I did not know that the whole Argentina team is here. It will be a lifetime opportunity for me. I will book the tickets once I reach my in- laws place,’Sarkar signed off.

AIRPORT STAFF JOSTLE FOR PHOTO- OPP

If the thousands delirious supporters who remained awake throughout the night and braved rains to catch a glimpse of their alt145 Godalt39Lionel Messi left home dejected, there were few, the airport and immigration staff, inside the airport who made the best use of the opportunity.

The executive director of CMG Bhaswar Goswami told reporters that Messi was made to stand in the immigration deliberately for long duration.

‘Its all their handiwork. He was made to stand at the immigration for quite a long time. They all wanted to have a share of Messi,’Goswami said.

‘Right from the immigration official to security personnel, everybody started posing with Messi. There were many others who were inside the airport to have a glimpse of Messi,’Goswami said. He said Messi was very cool and handled it nicely sporting a broad smile.

‘When he came out of the flight, many almost fell over him. There were loud shouts of Messi, Messi. The excitement was everywhere.’

Only 55,000 match tickets sold

The spectre of large empty spaces at the Salt Lake stadium galleries loomed large for Fridays FIFA international friendly tie between Argentina and Venezuela, as only half of the tickets in the 1.20 lakh capacity venue have been sold so far.

” As far as our information and calculations till yesterday ( Tuesday), more than 55,000 tickets have already been sold. But I donalt39t know the upsurge or the conditions of ticket sales after Lionel Messi arrived in Kolkata,” said Bhaswar Goswami, executi

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