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Jun 3, 2011

Messi unhurt after youth aims punch

Lionel Messi has emerged unscathed after a youth aimed a punch at him outside a restaurant in his home city of Rosario on Thursday.

Barcelona star Messi had stopped to sign autographs, but one youngster who was reportedly dressed in the uniform of a nearby school, attempted to assault the Argentine before running away.

"There was a crush of people waiting outside," Pablo Moyano, who was working in the restaurant, told Argentine TV. "There were kids, reporters, photographers waiting ... and one of the kids tried to punch him. I don't know if he pulled it off. He went running afterward."

"We're taking photos and we see the arm and he dodges it. (Messi) did not react badly, he left walking and got into the (car)," witness Carolina told the TV news channel C5N.

Messi tried to play down the incident on his Facebook page.

"To relax all those people that have asked us about the truth of the accident coming out of the restaurant, tell them I did not receive any blow from anyone. I'm perfectly OK," he wrote.

Argentine media reported that Messi's aggressor was a fan of Rosario Central, arch-rivals of Newell's Old Boys where the 23-year-old began his career before moving to Spain.

Messi is currently holidaying in Rosario before the beginning of the Copa America on July 1 with Argentina facing Bolivia.

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