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Gunmen leave threatening note for Lionel Messi at shooting scene



Gunmen who opened fire at a supermarket owned by Lionel Messi’s in-laws on Thursday reportedly left a threatening note for the Argentine soccer star, saying they were “waiting for him”.

There were no injuries in the early morning incident at the Unico supermarket in Rosario, Messi’s hometown, around 300km northwest of Buenos Aires. The store is owned by the family of Messi’s wife, Antonela Roccuzzo.

According to the Associated Press, police said two men on motorbikes fired at least a dozen shots into the store’s metal shutters and front door, leaving a message on a piece of cardboard that read, “Messi , we are waiting for you. [Mayor Pablo] Javkin is also a drug dealer, so he won’t deal with you. Local reports, via the Mirror, speculated that barra bravas, Argentinian football fans, may have been behind the attack, and a local TV channel suggested the gunmen were possibly trying to be to extort money from the star player.

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One of Roccuzzo’s cousins ​​is said to run the store, one of a chain the Roccuzzo family has run in Rosario since the 1980s. Because Messi is a national hero and his in-laws still sometimes work in the store, it’s a popular place.

“Nothing like this had ever happened before. I was watching television when I heard [the gunshots at around 3 a.m.]. We have all heard them. All the neighbors on the block came out to see what had happened,” a man identified only by Oscar told El Pais, saying he lived next door to the store.

Claudio Brilloni, security minister for the province of Santa Fe, told reporters that the gunmen are still at large and there is no official theory yet on the motive for the crime. “We are going to make sure the supermarket can operate normally,” he said. By mid-morning Thursday, the store was open.

Javkin criticized federal authorities for what he called a failure to end drug-related violence in the city.

“It is so [a] vicious [attack] I question everything. Even that [it was done by] criminal gangs,” Javkin said, according to El Pais. “It is very clear that it is easy to harm Rosario and that there is no concrete help. How far is the president from here, half an hour? I am the mayor of the city. I do not lead the security forces, and when I [have] asked [to do it]they wouldn’t let me.

Messi, who led Argentina to their first world championship in 36 years in December, has not commented on the incident and is in France, playing for Paris Saint-Germain. He often visits Rosario and has a house in the suburb of Funes. He is expected to travel to the country at the end of March for the national team’s friendlies against Panama and Curacao.

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