Lionel Messi, one of the best footballers in the world, has made a significant impact in MLS with Inter Miami. Yet, while his performances have captivated fans and opponents alike, there's another figure gaining attention: Messi's bodyguard.
Here's everything you need to know about why Messi has a personal bodyguard during his Inter Miami games and who this mystery man is.
Why does Lionel Messi have a bodyguard for Inter Miami games?
Lionel Messi's arrival in MLS has certainly created a buzz, not just for his spectacular skills on the field but also for the added security measures that come with such stardom. Enter Yassine Cheuko, who was recently hired by Inter Miami to serve as Messi's personal bodyguard, and reportedly a recommendation from none other than club president David Beckham.
Cheuko's role is far from being just symbolic. He's tasked with staying as close as possible to Messi during games to protect him from potential pitch invaders. This was evident during Inter Miami's 3-1 win against Los Angeles FC (LAFC), where he had to intervene to prevent a fan from approaching the global superstar.
The bodyguard, stationed at the edge of the field, quickly moved to grab the pitch invader, ensuring the individual's interaction with Messi was short-lived. He handed the fan over to stadium security, preventing what could have been a dangerous situation.
But the need for a bodyguard goes beyond just the pitch. With Messi's every move scrutinised and his family also in the spotlight, Cheuko's role becomes vital not just during matches but also in Messi's daily life in the United States.
Who is Lionel Messi's bodyguard Yassine Cheuko?
Yassine Cheuko is not just any security personnel. He's reportedly a former U.S. Navy SEAL with experience in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as an expert in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). His portfolio and skills make him particularly suited to protect one of the world's most famous athletes.
The veracity of claims stating that Chueko served in an the US Navy unit remains uncertain. Regardless of his possible ex-SEAL status, videos on Chueko's Instagram showcase his intimidating resilience.
His fame isn't just confined to guarding Messi. Cheuko has gained a following on social media and currently boasts over 150,000 followers on Instagram, including Messi himself. This popularity has been fuelled not only by his association with Messi but also by showcasing his experiences and training in martial arts.
How much does Lionel Messi's bodyguard earn?
In terms of payment, reports suggest that Cheuko's monthly salary stands at an impressive $250,000 (£198,000) for taking care of Messi and his family, which includes Messi's wife, Antonela Roccuzzo, and their children, Thiago, Mateo, and Ciro. That amounts to $3 million a year.
While his vigilant actions have sparked some controversy, such as preventing a child from taking a photo with Messi, Cheuko's primary responsibility is to ensure the safety of his client and his family.
Lionel Messi continues to make headlines for his game-changing performances with Inter Miami, and his bodyguard Cheuko has carved out his own niche of fame. Tasked with the important job of ensuring Messi's safety, Cheuko has become an almost indispensable part of the Argentine's entourage.
Whether on the field or outside it, it's clear that his role is as vital as it is complex. And for Messi, that's one less thing to worry about as he focuses on taking Inter Miami to new heights.