Stepney man poses as Messi’s ‘interpreter’ in Brick Lane boot giveaway stunt
LIONEL Messi received help from a fan who pretended to be his “interpreter” at a Brick Lane boot signing event organised by Adidas on Wednesday.
Shiblu Ali, 25, a recruitment consultant from Stepney, who does not speak a word of Spanish, went unnoticed as the Argentinian international footballer’s escort after being the first person to greet the soccer star as he got out of his silver Range Rover and was mobbed by the press.
Mr Ali, who was waiting to take a picture of the Barcelona winger on his cameraphone, described the security as “a bit shoddy”.
He said: “When I saw he had no-one acting on his behalf the adrenaline kicked in and I put my arm around him and started escorting him to the boot signing stall.
“The press thought I was his interpreter. That’s what I posed as - I posed as his interpreter.”
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Mr Ali said the crowd was aggressive and trying to get Messi to sign other memorabilia. “They were all shouting out to him and I acted as a mediator between them and him – this was all self appointed.”
Mr Ali who was waiting for Argentinian international, known as the ‘little maestro’, with a few friends and colleagues, said at one point the fame nearly got the better of him.
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He said: “My friends and family were in the crowd and at one point I did get a bit star struck. I put my thumbs up and started posing for the cameras, and then I thought I might be attracting some unnecessary attention. I wanted to help him.”
Speaking about the lack of security, Mr Ali said: “The crowd were fine, but it could have been very different if it was someone else and they were more rowdy.”
Mr Ali received a pair of signed boots from Messi as a thank you for his help.