Growing up next to Lionel Messi, Ecuador GK Hernan Galindez recalls conceding his first goal from Argentine World Cup winner

Lionel Messi has been lighting up the Major League Soccer with his elite performances for Inter Miami. Yesterday, he was back to his best for Argentina after scoring yet another goal in a 1-0 win against Ecuador. After winning the World Cup with Argentina in 2022, Messi and the team have been in great form. 

Messi also yet again showed another humble aspect of his yesterday, with him swapping jerseys with the Ecuadorian goalkeeper Hernan Galindez. The two have some history together, and in fact, even lived next to each other in their childhood.

Lionel Messi swaps shirts with GK Hernan Galindez after World Cup qualifier win

Yesterday’s game was the first international break since June. The game against Ecuador was also officially the start of the World Cup qualifiers for the 2026 edition in North America. The world champions completely dominated the game, but could not find the net even after many chances.

It was in the 78th minute, when Messi took his trademark position outside the penalty box for his free kick. Like many times before, the seven time Ballon d’Or winner calmly put it in the back of the net. This resulted in a easy 1-0 win, with the 2022 World Cup winners starting their next journey with a win.

WATCH: Lionel Messi scores outrageous free kick for Argentina in World Cup  qualifier against Ecuador |

After the game was over, Ecuador’s goalkeeper Hernan Galindez swapped shirts with Lionel Messi himself. The two were seen being very cordial with each other, and hugged and smiled as if they were familiar to each other. It was only later when it was revealed that the two were actually neighbors during their childhood.

Ecuador GK Hernan Galindez recalls conceding his first goal vs. Lionel Messi

In an interview with ESPN, Hernan revealed that Lionel Messi was the first to score a goal against him. He also revealed they were in fact neighbors during their childhood in Rosario and faced each other quite a lot.

His exact words were. “The first goal they scored against me in my life was scored by Messi. We were neighbors in Rosario and we are the same age, so we faced each other many times.”

“They gave the champion ten bicycles, instead of trophies. In Rosario they play seven against seven, on grass. I cut corners to Estrella Juniors. I got the final and we could beat them. I have a DVD that corroborates that I faced the monster.”

Hernan also heaped more praise on Messi, saying that the Argentine superstar had to sacrifice a lot to reach his current position. He said, “Lionel Messi is an example. Many times I hear people say that Messi didn’t make any effort, that he won everything in Barcelona, that he is a millionaire. But Messi had to leave his entire life, his friends, and his school at the age of 12 to find out if he could be a soccer player. That’s the effort he had to make.”

Lionel Messi and Argentina will next play against Bolivia on Wednesday, which will be their second World Cup qualifier. Afterwards, they will return to club duty, with Messi returning to Inter Miami.

Fazal Al Bashar

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Fazal is a passionate soccer aficionado, who when not discovering the latest soccer stories and rumors, indulges in playing FIFA all night. While he sucks at the sport, he knows the who and what in all things soccer-related.


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