Kidnapping victim credits Messi for his release


BUENOS AIRES: Argentine agronomist Santiago Menendez who was kidnapped in Nigeria has credited his release to his mention of the Argentine football great Lionel Messi.

“Tell them to thank Messi — naming him is what saved me,” Santiago Menendez told his brother after his release Friday.

According to the South American media, the 28-year-old Menendez, who managed two farms for Nigerian Flour Mills Plc, said he shouted “Messi, Messi, Messi” to establish a rapport with the kidnappers, who freed him two days later in exchange for a ransom.

Messi who is these days playing for Argentina in the Copa America in Chile is an Argentine professional footballer who plays for Spanish club Barcelona and the Argentina national team. He is a forward and serves as captain for Argentina.

By the age of 21, Messi had received Ballon d’Or and FIFA World Player of the Year nominations. The following year, in 2009, he won his first Ballon d’Or and FIFA World Player of the Year awards. He followed this up by winning the inaugural FIFA Ballon d’Or in 2010, and then again in 2011 and 2012.

He also won the 2010–11 UEFA Best Player in Europe Award. At the age of 24, Messi became Barcelona’s all-time top scorer in all official club competitions. In September 2014 he scored his 400th senior career goal for club and country aged just 27. In November 2014, Messi became the all-time top scorer in La Liga, and the all-time leading goalscorer in the UEFA Champions League.