BUENOS AIRES, Aug 28: A mural of a young Lionel Messi in a Newell�s Old Boys jersey, tiny and barefoot with a soccer ball in front of him, inspires hundreds of young people at the Argentine club�s youth school to dream of succeeding like their hometown hero.
Messi�s surprise decision to leave European club Barcelona earlier this week has sparked unlikely dreams in residents of Rosario, the city 300 kilometers (186 miles) north of Buenos Aires where he was born, that he would return to play with the local team, Newell�s Old Boys.
Hundreds of Newell�s fans formed a noisy and colorful caravan of vehicles Thursday that went from Rosario�s �Marcelo Bielsa� stadium to its Flag Monument, the symbol of this city on the banks of the Paran� River. Many participants donned red-and-black Newell�s jerseys and waved club flags, honking horns and setting off flares.
�All of Argentina wants to see you smile,� read a poster on the window of one car.
Newell�s fans know they don�t have the millions to offer the 33-year-old superstar that the owners of European clubs Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain or Inter Milan do. Those clubs are seen as Messi�s most likely destinations.
Their strategy is to touch the heart of one of world soccer�s top stars and help him settle a pending issue in his careeer: playing professional soccer in Argentina, something he hasn�t done because he went to Europe at the young age of 13. � AP