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Goal.com caught up with a few citizens of Kolkata to get a sense of their mood ahead of the historic international friendly between Argentina and Venezuela.

In a few hours time, Kolkata will witness the historic international friendly between Argentina and Venezuela. All eyes will be on Argentina captain Lionel Messi as the best footballer in the world makes his debut on Indian soil.

Kolkata is considered the Mecca of Indian football so it is fitting that Messi’s first appearance in India is taking place in the football crazy city.

The City of Joy has a huge Argentina fanbase but the focus later this Friday evening will largely be on El Messiah as it will be an occasion of a life time for all Kolkatans.

A massive crowd is expected at the new-look Salt Lake Stadium but expensive ticket prices and the fact that the match will be shown LIVE could prevent it from being a full house.

However, there is no shortage of excitement in the city as people from all corners of the society are happy to welcome the two international teams and especially Messi.

Goal.com caught up with a few Kolkata citizens to get some thoughts on the much awaited contest.

Rajender, who is a cab driver, expressed his delight on the arrival of a world famous superstar like Messi. He admitted that he couldn’t afford the ticket prices but said that the organizers can’t be blamed for the same.

(Translated version) “It is good for everybody in the city that someone as famous as Messi is here to show his talents. The prices of the tickets are too high but the organizers have invested a lot of money...
... so they have the right to select the price to their liking.

He added that the matchday could be a very profitable and busy day for him as he normally functions in areas close to the Salt Lake Stadium.

“During the matchday there will be a lot of traffic but hopefully I will get some extra passengers as well.”


Pradipta Sur, who is an analyst by profession, said watching Messi and company was a dream come true for him and thus he would be leaving office early to get to the stadium on time.

“I started watching football passionately after watching Ronaldo in the 1998 World Cup. I am a Brazil fan but any football fan would want to watch Messi in person. So this match is a chance of a lifetime for me.

“I will definitely be going to the stadium and even leave early from office so that I reach on time.”

Engineering student Anonyo Mitra believes besides Messi, the opportunity to watch two top international teams go head to head against each other is a great occasion for Kolkata.

“I am a Barca fan and thus I can’t wait to see Messi from the stands. I am also looking forward to an exciting match between two talented national teams. We never get to see such matches in India.”

Chumki Sarkar, who happens to be the niece of the legendary former India international Gautam Sarkar, opined that even though she doesn’t follow football regularly, Lionel Messi is one footballer she is desperate to watch from the stadium itself.

“As you know, football is very important for my family so a match like this has created a lot of excitement in the house. To be frank I don’t follow the sport that much but I really want to see the great Messi in action and thus I will be going to the stadium.”


Bapi and Bharat, who work in a factory in Dum Dum, often go to the Salt Lake Stadium to meet some friends and thus were seen trying to get a glimpse of the Argentina practice on Tuesday evening.

Messi hadn’t arrived by then but the two stated how excited they were to see the Barcelona star. However they revealed that...
... they would watch the match on television.

(Translated version) “Throughout the year we come a lot to the Salt Lake Stadium as we have friends working here. The stadium is much improved now and it should be as Messi is coming.

“We wanted to watch him in person but sadly will have to be satisfied with live coverage on television.”


Tathagata Guha Mazumder, who is a guitarist of a Kolkata music band, is very much looking forward to the game but made a good point that the match may do little to improve Indian football.

“I am a football fanatic so this match is like a dream come true for me. I will be going to the stadium to watch this game with my friends and band members.

“It is going to be a historic occasion but will it help Indian football? I don’t think so. More money has to be invested by corporates at grass-root level also, not just this one-time projects.”

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