Kolkatans slowly getting a grip of Messi mania

Last Updated: Aug 28, 2011, 20:29 PM IST

Kolkata: The Lionel Messi fever is slowly catching catch up in the Mecca of Indian football as 42,000 tickets has been sold for the marquee Argentina vs Venezuela International friendly on September 2.

At the look of it, the ticket sales may appear to be a bit lukewarm but the organisers are leaving no stone unturned to avoid any slip up as it was witnessed when Diego Maradona sent the city into a frenzy about three years ago.

Unlike Maradona`s visit, there will be no special arrangement for the city crowd to welcome Messi when the Argentine sensation arrives with his Barcelona teammate Javier Mascherano late on Tuesday night as the duo will be taken to the team hotel on EM Bypass by a special security cover straight from the airport tarmac.

Besides the match, the players will visit Missionaries of Charity, but it was not clear whether Messi will make it as he will only join the rest of the touring members on Tuesday night.

But Celebrity Management Group, said everything could only be confirmed after the arrival of Argentine coach Alejandro Sabella, who will arrive along with 17 others on Monday.

"We have also planned an interaction with selected children. There are many such things but at this point of time we cannot confirm unless the coach gives his approval," Bhaswar Goswami, executive director of CMG, said.

Providing details about the Argentine side`s itinerary, Goswami said five members of the technical delegation arrived this morning.

"Venezuela team members will arrive tomorrow onwards along with 18 Argentines. On Tuesday, 17 more Argentines will arrive, while Messi and Mascherano will be the last to join."

Messi will be arriving in Kolakata after playing a La Liga match against Villareal tomorrow and then he is expected to travel via Frankfurt along with Mascherano, on Tuesday.

Asked about any arrangement for spectators to welcome the Argentine superstar during his entry to Kolkata, Goswami said, "We have no such arrangement, keeping in mind the security hazards. There will not be any see-through bus as per the security requirement. We don`t want to take any chance."

Meanwhile, the Salt Lake Stadium is painted in Albicelestes colours as the stadium looks refurbished with the Argentina dressing room in white and sky blue, on the eve of the state government`s handing over to the organisers.

Kolkata: The Lionel Messi fever is slowly catching catch up in the Mecca of Indian football as 42,000 tickets has been sold for the marquee Argentina vs Venezuela International friendly on September 2.

At the look of it, the ticket sales may appear to be a bit lukewarm but the organisers are leaving no stone unturned to avoid any slip up as it was witnessed when Diego Maradona sent the city into a frenzy about three years ago.

Unlike Maradona`s visit, there will be no special arrangement for the city crowd to welcome Messi when the Argentine sensation arrives with his Barcelona teammate Javier Mascherano late on Tuesday night as the duo will be taken to the team hotel on EM Bypass by a special security cover straight from the airport tarmac.

Besides the match, the players will visit Missionaries of Charity, but it was not clear whether Messi will make it as he will only join the rest of the touring members on Tuesday night.

But Celebrity Management Group, said everything could only be confirmed after the arrival of Argentine coach Alejandro Sabella, who will arrive along with 17 others on Monday.

"We have also planned an interaction with selected children. There are many such things but at this point of time we cannot confirm unless the coach gives his approval," Bhaswar Goswami, executive director of CMG, said.

Providing details about the Argentine side`s itinerary, Goswami said five members of the technical delegation arrived this morning.

"Venezuela team members will arrive tomorrow onwards along with 18 Argentines. On Tuesday, 17 more Argentines will arrive, while Messi and Mascherano will be the last to join."

Messi will be arriving in Kolakata after playing a La Liga match against Villareal tomorrow and then he is expected to travel via Frankfurt along with Mascherano, on Tuesday.

Asked about any arrangement for spectators to welcome the Argentine superstar during his entry to Kolkata, Goswami said, "We have no such arrangement, keeping in mind the security hazards. There will not be any see-through bus as per the security requirement. We don`t want to take any chance."

Meanwhile, the Salt Lake Stadium is painted in Albicelestes colours as the stadium looks refurbished with the Argentina dressing room in white and sky blue, on the eve of the state government`s handing over to the organisers.

CMG CEO Dharamdutt Pandey said match tickets were up for exchange.

"Those who have booked the tickets online or through counters can get it from any of the counters located at Mohammadan Sporting, Mohun Bagan or the match venue Salt Lake Stadium," he informed.

The match is scheduled to start at 7pm.

PTI