Rodrigo De Paul continues to be Lionel Messi's unofficial bodyguard and played up to the role against Honduras.
Argentina beat the CONCACAF outfit 3-0 at the Hard Rock Stadium, with Messi bagging a brace after Lautaro Martinez opened the scoring.
The 35-year-old doubled Argentina's lead with a penalty and then notched a stunning chip in the 69th minute.
Only a few minutes prior, Messi had been on the receiving end of a shocking shoulder charge challenge from Deiby Flores and was writhing around on the turf holding his face.
You don't mess with Lionel Messi with Argentina. Rodrigo De Paul and the team on the scene.pic.twitter.com/cnmJ0z0hdW— Roy Nemer (@RoyNemer) September 24, 2022
It sparked a bit of a brawl and of course De Paul, the feisty Atletico Madrid midfielder, was straight in there to defend Messi.
Flores was shown a yellow card and eventually things cooled down.
But it was after the game where De Paul proved he really will protect Messi at all costs. A number of Honduras players and officials were desperate to get a picture with the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner, who happily obliged.
However when one official grabbed him by the arm in a bid to get his attention, De Paul, wearing a pink bib, appeared out of nowhere.
De Paul has only one job for Argentina. Protect Leo Messi at all cost 😂💯 pic.twitter.com/NX24I3PZv8— Rephlex☁️ (@I_Am_Rephlex) September 24, 2022
The way De Paul defends Messi 😂 I love this guy so much pic.twitter.com/PHzh32L9zO— R (@Lionel30i) September 24, 2022
He immediately took the man's hand off Messi's and gave him a right dirty look. And fans on social media loved the commitment De Paul displayed to looking after Argentina's talisman:
A crazy bodyguard indeed.— Abdul-Rahaman Humble (@RahamanHumble) September 24, 2022
I’m sure this guy can die for Messi. https://t.co/MUft0fCyS7— olawale.eth (@Marvel1h) September 24, 2022
De Paul: Thou shall not touch the GOAT 🐐 https://t.co/2WmugfBEsJ— 𝕷𝖔𝖉𝖊𝖗𝖎𝖈𝖔 𝕲𝖊𝖒™ (@Loderico_Gem) September 24, 2022
This man is definitely an undercover bodyguard for messi. Wtf😂 https://t.co/ZEKFLyCXpa— Aminu Saulawa (@Alameen_slw) September 24, 2022
😂😂😂 best in private security 🙌🏾🙌🏾 https://t.co/9r6SyC5wl2— Becky-Ange (@becky_ange) September 24, 2022
De Paul absolutely idolises Messi and has gone on record to say he'd go "to war for him" if he asked.
“When he becomes your captain, you’d go to war for him if he asked you to," he told FIFA.com.
“The key thing is that everyone knows what they’re expected to do, nobody is trying to hog the headlines. The only untouchable one is Leo. The rest of us contribute by doing whatever is asked of us.”
While he doesn't like others touching Messi, Paul proceeded to playfully slap his teammate in Argentina training this week before mouthing “Are you stupid, Leo?”.
SPORTbible Stories is the brand-new podcast from the SPORT team at LADbible. The latest episode features a chat with WWE legend Triple H who opens up on his long in-ring career, his rivalry with The Rock during WWE's Attitude Era and Logan Paul's fledgling wrestling career. You can watch the episode here.
Featured Image Credit: Image: TyC Sports
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