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Lionel Messi visits Romford – but why?

PUBLISHED: 11:39 13 November 2014 | UPDATED: 11:39 13 November 2014

Lionel Messi training at West Ham United Training Facility at Rush Green. Picture: West Ham United

Lionel Messi training at West Ham United Training Facility at Rush Green. Picture: West Ham United

Arfa / Griffiths Photographers

Football’s international superstar Lionel Messi paid a visit to Romford this week - but was it for the famous market stall bargains, a night in South Street’s clubs, or a flutter at the race track?

Lionel Messi training at West Ham United Training Facility at Rush Green. Picture: West Ham United Lionel Messi training at West Ham United Training Facility at Rush Green. Picture: West Ham United

It was actually for professional reasons, as the four-time world’s best player winner was training with his Argentina teammates at West Ham’s Rush Green academy ahead of their match against Croatia at Upton Park.

Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero, ex-Hammer Carlos Tevez and Manchester United’s Angel Di Maria also caused a stir, but it was the man often regarded as the world’s best ever player who created a storm on social media.

Twitter was awash with speculation from residents as to why Messi was visiting. One, @JoshVsSawyerr, wondered whether he was having “a cheeky Nando’s”.

While @Artistic Arsenal tweeted: “Messi is in Romford, I am finally proud to be from here.”

The West Ham youngsters who had the privilege to stand toe-to-toe with the maestro also took to the social media site to share their feelings.

Under-21 defender Sam Westley tweeted: “An unreal experience – playing against Messi was one of my best experiences ever.”

And midfielder Matthias Fanimo added: “Easily without doubt the best day of my life. What an experience. Don’t think anything is topping that.”

The town obviously had a good influence on him, as despite missing from the spot against Brazil last month, he scored a penalty at Upton Park to give Argentina a 2-1 win over Croatia.

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