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Lionel Messi appears to be a West Ham fan

We have the pictures to prove it

FC Barcelona v Villarreal CF - La Liga Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

When pictures of Lionel Messi’s “shirt room” came out the other day, it was full of predictable famous shirts. Pablo Aimar’s shirt was there, Luis Suarez’s shirt was there, even a few from Real Madrid, with Iker Casillas and Raul shirts’ both hanging up. Even AS Roma legend Francesco Totti had his shirt up there.

So imagine everyone’s surprise when a West Ham United shirt was hanging right in the middle, next to Messi’s own shirt. Yep, Manuel Lanzini’s West Ham shirt is in a place of pride. What gives? Is Lionel Messi a fan of the East London club or of Manuel Lanzini?

It turns out that the two of swapped shirts last year in Argentina while Lanzini was recovering from an injury and Messi was in the country. Lanzini must have made quite the impression for his shirt to be hung in such a place of honor in his shirt room.

Of course, it is doubtful that the Barcelona legend will don the West Ham kit anytime soon or anything crazy like that, as Messi’s wages and transfer fees are probably more than the entire West Ham first team combined. However, it never hurts to have such a famous footballer showing some love for the team.

Who knows? Maybe this could result in more Argentines signing for the club, although everyone would like them to be more like Lanzini and Carlos Tevez than Jonathan Calleri. Maybe once Messi retires from playing football, he’d like to own a team? Messi’s family may get in trouble with the taxman, but West Ham fans are used to owners like that. Anyway, it would be great to have an international sporting legend as an owner. Who knows, the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins owner, hockey legend Mario Lemieux, came out of retirement to play a few additional years for the club, further cementing his legacy as the greatest Penguin ever, if not the greatest hockey player of all time.