Argentinian soccer superstar Lionel Messi and Colombian maverick Radamel Falcao received standing ovations Thursday from an enthusiastic crowd at Bogota‘s El Campin Stadium after an entertaining charity match, called the “Battle of the Stars.”
Falcao’s “rest of the world” team initially took the lead with a quick goal after just seven minutes. The “Messi and friends” squad eventually came back thanks to an imaginative offensive push.
The match was a barn burner to the end, finishing in a 6-6 deadlock.
“I am very grateful for the people of Colombia, very happy because the stadium was practically filled and I had a lot of fun. As always I want to do [charity matches] although I know I have a responsibility with Barcelona,” said a seemingly excited Messi to press after the game.
The coach of the Messi-led team, Brazilian ex-footballer Carlos Caetano Bledorn Verri, better known as Dunga, said to the press that Colombia’s Falcao was “doing marvelous things. The hardest thing is to score goals and he is good at that. Colombia should be in the World Cup because they have a great player.”
Proceeds from Thursday’s match will go to Colombian children’s foundations.
Thursday’s line-ups were as followed:
“Friends of Messi”: Jose Manuel Pinto; Diego Godin, Diego Lugano (Diego Perez), Andre Santos, Walter Gargano, Javier Mascherano, Diego, Lionel Messi (Dani Alves), Ezquiel Lavezzi, Robinho y Daniel Oswaldo (Ariel Ortega). Coach: Dunga.
“Rest of the world”: Farid Mondragon (Guillermo Ochoa); Alvaro Gonzalez, Mario Yepes, Fabio Cannavaro, John Viafara, Marek Hamsik, Giovanni Hernandez (Franco Zuculini), James Rodriguez, Radamel Falcao Garcia, Teofilo Gutierrez y Diego Forlan. Coach: Fabio Capello.