Updated March 8th, 2024 at 21:24 IST

'I am from where Messi is from': 90-year-old woman avoids kidnapping by Hamas after mentioning Messi

In a unique development,

Lionel Messi saves 90-year-old woman from Hamas | Image:AP/@UHN_Plus

Lionel Messi rescuing his team on the football field is a common spectacle. This time, however, the global icon has done the saving work without being physically present, away from the ground. In a unique development that has broken out in Argentina, a 90-year-old woman has avoided harm from Hamas terrorists by mentioning the name of Leo Messi.

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How Lionel Messi saved a 90-year-old woman

On the dreadful morning of October 7, 90-year-old Ester Cunio faced a nightmare when armed intruders barged into her home on the Israeli Kibbutz Nir Oz. Ester and eight members of her family faced the horrific danger of being kidnapped and taken to Gaza. When confronted by gunmen demanding the location of her family, Ester's admission of her Argentine origin and love of football, particularly Messi, caused a surprising change in her assailant's approach. 


The introduction of Messi's name served as a beacon of hope in the midst of danger, motivating the gunman to drop his hostility and even pose for a photo with Ester.

Speaking openly about her ordeal to Fuente Latina (via Marca), Ester said: "I told him that I speak in Argentine, in Spanish. I didn't understand his language. The Arab language, and I speak poor Hebrew. I speak Argentinean Spanish, so he asks what Argentina is. Then I tell him, 'Do you watch football?' He said he liked it and I told him I am from Messi's country. He was surprised and told me he loves Messi. He put his arm on my shoulder, gave me his gun, he made me do the peace sign and they snapped the picture."

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No word from Messi

While she was spared further damage, Ester's elation was tempered by the knowledge that her grandchildren were still hostage in Gaza. She has now made an impassioned request to Messi to intervene on behalf of her imprisoned grandkids so that they, too, can be saved.


“If he [Lionel] knows that I mentioned him and was saved, now I would ask for my grandchildren who are locked up there. I would tell him to please pray to God because they are guys worth gold.”

Even though Ester's story has received a lot of attention, Messi has not publicly acknowledged that he knew about the incident. However, it also emphasizes how his name has a significant impact that extends well beyond the world of sports, acting as a beacon of hope and support during the most challenging of times.


Published March 8th, 2024 at 21:24 IST