THE world’s greatest footballer’s move to Manchester fell through yesterday – but we toured the city with a Messi model to show him what he is missing.
We took Andre Luiz Paie to Man City’s Etihad Stadium and other sights then stuck the Barcelona genius’s head on our pictures for good measure.
The real Messi, nicknamed The Flea, may still join City in a year when his Barca contract expires — and the locals assured him of a reet good welcome.
Mum-of-two Trina Worthington, 37, asked for a picture with her three-year-old son Daniel and said: “He’d be made to feel very welcome. This city would love him to come.”
Tanya Jackson, 30, wearing her City strip, added: “Seeing Messi at the Etihad would be a dream.”
Even a Man United fan, Rachel Clare, 35, asked our Messi for an autograph.
She said: “It would be great if he comes — let’s face it, City need all the help they can get.”
Our Messi gazed at Manchester Central Library on St Peter’s Square, with its neoclassical rotunda, and nodded approvingly.
At Tony’s Chippy, near the Etihad, owner Carl Lee, 47, said: “Messi’s welcome here any time. We’re a traditional Manchester chippy and he needs to try our mushy peas.”
In the shadow of the Etihad, we introduced Messi to the legendary Mary D’s pub — and as he supped a pint of Blue Moon lager, named after the City fans’ anthem, barmaid Jan Burton, 52, said: “He’s welcome in here for a pint any time.”
Our tour also took in the Coronation Street studios and the Salford Lads Club, pictured on The Smiths’ 1986 album The Queen Is Dead.
Our Messi, Brazilian-born Andre, said: “I’ve been given a remarkable welcome by everyone I’ve met in Manchester today.
“I loved the chips and the lager. British weather can be difficult for us South Americans but I’m used to it, so I’m sure Messi can be too.
“My advice to him is come to Manchester — you won’t regret it.”
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