'The first goal ever scored against me was by Messi' - Ecuador goalkeeper Hernan Galindez explains shirt swap with former 'neighbour' and Argentina superstar Leo

Lionel Messi Hernan GalindezGetty Images
  • Messi and Galindez were neighbours
  • Swapped shirt after World Cup qualifier
  • Argentina beat Ecuador 1-0

WHAT HAPPENED? Messi scored a brilliant free-kick to help Argentina pick up a 1-0 win over Ecuador in a 2026 World Cup qualifying game on Thursday. After the match, the Inter Miami star was seen swapping his shirt with Ecuador goalkeeper Hernan Galindez.

Explaining why the two players swapped their shirts, Galindez recalled Messi was the first player ever to score a goal against him. Galindez and Messi were neighbours as children in Rosario and they participated in a children's competition where Messi scored against him.

WHAT THEY SAID: Speaking to ESPN, the goalkeeper said, "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."

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Galindez also suggested that he has a DVD as proof that he played against the Argentine superstar. He added, "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. 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."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: While Messi scored the all-important goal for the world champions, he had to be substituted in the 89th minute due to an injury scare as confirmed by Argentina boss Lionel Scalone.


Lionel Messi Argentina 2023Getty

WHAT NEXT? Scaloni's side will be next seen in action against Bolivia in the 2026 World Cup qualifiers on Tuesday.