Nine-year-old Messi spotted consoling rival as cute clip of PSG star goes viral

PSG star Lionel Messi has been a cut above us mere mortals his whole life – but he's always shown a touch of class about his play.

And now, an adorable clip from 1997 has emerged showing a nine-year-old Messi playing for Argentine side Newell's Old Boys and consoling a rival who was on the receiving end of a masterclass from the diminutive forward.

The footage is from the Friendship Cup and shines a light on the star's brilliance, even at such a tender age. Messi's team won the tournament – obviously – but it was what happened afterwards that marked him out from the rest.

As Newell's celebrated their victory a player from the opposing team fell to the ground in tears. Messi, who scored a hat-trick in the final, spotted his distraught opponent on the ground and broke away from his team's celebrations to console him.

The future Ballon d'Or winner raced over to his gutted rival and embraced him on the ground with a big hug. He was followed by the rest of his team-mates, proving he was something of a trendsetter even back then.

Channeling the name of the tournament – the Friendship Cup – the boys helped the losing player back to his feet in a moment that embodied the spirit of football.

What's your favourite Lionel Messi goal? Let us know in the comments section below.

Messi had plenty of reason to celebrate after the final whistle, having finished the tournament as the top scorer with seven goals. Newell's won the final 7-1 to give the young Argentine one of his very first tastes of success.

It's fair to say Messi has carried on his knack for goalscoring and winning trophies in the years since that adorable clip. Now 34, the PSG star won 34 club honours with Barcelona, not to mention countless individual awards.

He looks set to make that 35 soon rather than later, with PSG 12 points clear of Lyon at the top of Ligue 1. Messi has struggled to replicate the same form he showed at the Nou Camp at Parc des Princes, but he has still made a valuable contribution.

The Argentina star registered a hat-trick of assists against Clermont Foot last weekend as PSG routed the French minnows 6-1 to solidify their position at the top of the table.

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