Messi likely to arrive on Wednesday wee hrs

Last Updated: Aug 29, 2011, 23:54 PM IST

Kolkata: Even as the organisers of Argentina vesus Venezuela international friendly are tightlipped about Lionel Messi`s arrival in the city for security reasons, the FC Barcelona star is expected to reach here in the wee hours of Wednesday.

After their experience of a slip-up during Diego Maradona`s tour to city about three years ago, the Celebrity Management Group are wary about any repeat.

More than 50,000 people had lined up on the streets of football-crazy Kolkata at midnight when Maradona, accompanied by girlfriend Veronica, had arrived in December 2008.

There was a see-through bus arrangement but Maradona preferred another vehicle as he had headed to the team hotel as people, wearing Argentine jerseys and carrying Maradona`s cutouts and posters, welcomed him.

It seems the same organisers, this time, don`t want a repeat of this.

"We don`t want to disclose the timing of Messi`s arrival. Let people speculate on their own. We don`twant to put any extra pressure on Messi when he lands here. We don`t want a security slip up," Dharamdutt Pandey, said CEO of the sports management firm.

Incidentally, the organisers had sent out a detailed arrival timings of the other Argentina players including coach Alejandro Sabella who came with deputy Julian Camino and 15 others this morning.

On Tuesday, 18 Argentines will join the squad including Real Madrid duo of Gonzalo Higuain and Angel Di Maria.

Atletico de Madrid forward Eduardo Salvio and Mancheser City`s Sergio Aguero and Internazionale midfielder Ricardo Alvarez will also join the squad tomorrow.

Out of them, Aguero will come at 3.15am tomorrow, as per the travel itinerary organisers sent out to the media.

Sources said Messi will also arrive at the same time early Wednesday.

Messi and his Barca teammate Javier Mascherano are held back as the Pep Guardiola`s side take on Villareal in the La Liga in Spain tonight.

Meanwhile, there will be strong security measures for the match as it was decided after a meeting with the state police under whose jurisdiction the match venue falls.

"No liquor inside the venue and not even any kind of bottle will be allowed. The violator will be penalised," police sources said.

PTI