Kolkata: Lionel Messi kept his date with the football crazy city as he landed in the wee hours of Wednesday but by giving miss to the thousands of hysteric fans who gathered at the airport in the unearthly hours.
The Barca duo, who were held back for their La Liga match against Villareal late yesterday, came via Qatar as their flight landed sharp at 3.15 am.
But more than a thousand Messi supporters many wearing his No 10 jersey started pouring in from 2 am onwards.
Braving few spells of rain, the supporters danced, shouted slogans of `Three Cheers for Messi`, held lifesize Messi banners as delirious scenes were witnessed outside the main gate of the International terminal.
But nobody had a clue from which gate Messi was being brought out.
No one including the hordes of media men gathered at the airport could get an information about Messi`s movement as the Argentine superstar and his Barca teammate Javier Mascherano along with three other Venezuelans were taken out discreetly under high security cover.
Confirming Messi`s arrival, organisers of the Argentina vs Venezuela match here on September 2, Celebrity Management Group said Messi was taken out in a total hush-hush manner.
"Yes Messi has finally arrived along with Mascherano and three from Venezuela. Nobody had an idea through which gate he would be taken out," Bhaswar Goswami, executive director of CMG, told media persons.
Accompanied by Mascherano, Messi was sporting a white T-shirt as he completed the formalities with the Custom before being taken out of Gate No 5.
More than 30 members of the Argentine delegation including coach Alejandro Sabella have already checked in.
Venezuela team members too have come in batches for their match on Friday.
First Published: Wednesday, August 31, 2011, 08:18