Rodolphe Ragu - 2011-12-08
Tangol, a travel agency in Buenos Aires, recently launched a novel concept in the tourism market: the Messi Tour. The tour takes participants on a discovery of Rosario, the birthplace of football megastar Lionel Messi, winner of the FIFA Ballon d’Or for the third year in a row.
Every now and again, people who achieve exceptional kudos in their field are referred to as ‘monuments’. Applied to world football megastar Lionel Messi - the Atomic Flea - the expression could almost be taken literally. The Tangol tourist agency of Buenos Aires has recently put together a travel package of a new sort, centred on the monumental Argentinean player.
Last October, Tangol began offering a tour of Rosario (300 kilometres north of the Argentinean capital), where Messi was born in 1987. The circuit takes fans to the sites that left their mark on the young prodigy: his family home, his primary school, the pitch of the local Grandoli club where he wore his first football boots and the VIP bar run by his publican father. The excursion is peppered with encounters with those who knew Messi when he was still a bambino.
To make the most of the journey, the package’s twenty-four-plus hours also include transport, one night in a hotel and a more traditional tour of the streets of Rosario, Argentina’s third-largest city. The Basilica Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary and the National Flag Memorial are among the circuit’s non-football highlights.
Tangol offers two other Messi-inspired options. One includes tickets to a home match with Argentina’s national football team and two nights in a four-star hotel. The other flies South Americans to Spain to watch the Atomic Flea play for FC Barcelona at the famous Camp Nou Stadium.