Liga MX

Where's Messi? Tributes missing in his native Argentina city

ROSARIO, Argentina (AP) Right before kickoff, the plasma TV's were still tuned to a tennis match on mute instead of the Barcelona game at a nearly empty bar owned by Lionel Messi's family in his Argentina hometown.

The only clue at the bar were some photos of Messi. No one seemed to care about the game until a couple walked in hurriedly and asked a waiter to change the channel. The college students from Germany had saved for months to travel on a pilgrimage to their idol's native city. By this point they were disappointed: they had seen no Messi statues, plaques or museums. Nothing.

"It seems like I feel more for Messi than Rosarinos," Oshin Gharibi, 32, said as he watched the match next to his girlfriend, Lena Wagner, 23. She wore a Barcelona shirt adorned with Messi's number 10 on the back.