The real winner! Socceroos star Cam Devlin gets Lionel Messi’s shirt after Argentina skipper marks his 1,000th game by scoring his first World Cup knockout stage goal to eliminate Australia in the Round of 16
Cameron Devlin may not have played a minute of football at the World Cup, but he secured arguably one of the tournament’s most cherished mementos.
The Socceroos midfielder was an unused substitute as Australia exited the World Cup following a 2-1 loss against Argentina on Sunday morning (AEDT), but left the the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium with Lionel Messi‘s shirt.
Footage shared on Twitter shows Messi heading towards the dressing room shortly after picking up the Player of the Match award, before stopping and exchanging words with someone out of shot.
Lionel Messi celebrated his 1,000th career appearance with a wonderful goal for Argentina
As the Argentina skipper proceeds to remove his shirt, the camera pans onto Devlin, who shakes hands with the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner and hands his still folded match shirt.
Messi does likewise with his, which Devlin, one of six Socceroos who didn’t see a minute of action in Qatar, swiftly tucks under his training top, before the two go separate ways.
A prized possession in normal circumstances, the shirt Messi wore against Australia could be a real collector’s item.
Messi took his shirt after collecting the Player of the Match Award in the tunnel
He then handed it to Cameron Devlin, who gave him his Socceroos shirt in exchange
The Round of 16 tie against the Socceroos was the Argentine maestro’s 1,000th career game, which he marked with a superb finish to give his side the lead 35 minutes into the first half.
The strike was Messi’s ninth World Cup goal – one behind Gabriel Batistuta, La Albiceleste’s record goalscorer at the tournament – and his first in the knockout stages.
It could, of course, also be the last Argentina shirt Messi ever wins a game in, should Lionel Scaloni’s men crash out against the Netherlands in the quarter-finals on Friday.
Socceroos boss Graham Arnold admitted being left in awe by Messi’s brilliance, after the Argentina skipper delivered a superb performance.
Devlin didn’t play a single minute at the World Cup for Australia
‘He’s one of the greatest ever,’ he said.
‘We really worked hard not to be in awe of him, because of the great player he is.
‘But wow, he’s remarkable.
‘I had the privilege of playing against Diego Maradona, and now coaching against Messi – they’re both wonderful players and Argentina should be so proud and happy to have players of that calibre.’