Meet The Socceroo Who Just Scored Lionel Messi’s World Cup Jersey - Men's Health Magazine Australia

Meet The Socceroo Who Just Scored Lionel Messi’s World Cup Jersey

Cameron Devlin may not have had much time on the field, but that didn’t stop him from seizing the opportunity to nab the inimitable Lionel Messi’s milestone World Cup jersey.

As we enter the remaining stages of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the campaign of the Socceroos might be over, but in our collective memories their performance on the field will be talked about for years to come. Many were quick to count the Socceroos out, and despite shouldering the impossible expectations and pressures of an entire nation, somehow they managed to block out the noise. With Graham Arnold’s expertise and discipline, the young team of up-and-coming talents stunned the world, and proved that the future of football in Australia is promising. 

While the Socceroos now begin their journey home, for young gun Cameron Devlin it’s one that sees him return with perhaps the most coveted prize of all: Lionel Messi’s jersey. For 24-year-old Devlin, his position as defensive midfielder unfortunately saw him receive no playing time at Qatar. With the likes fo Aaron Mooy, Jackson Irvine and Keanu Baccus proving too strong on the field, Devlin was sidelined. But that didn’t stop him from engaging with Messi post-match after the Round of 16, which also happened to be Messi’s 1000th match as a professional footballer. 

Capitalising on the milestone, Devlin wasted no time in talking to Messi on the field. Speaking about it now, Devlin explains: “I went on [the pitch] and consoled all the boys first and then shook Messi’s hand. No-one had said anything so I just tried my luck and he said, ‘I’ll see you inside,’ and that’s what happened.”

Devlin added, “I definitely wanted one of the other boys to have the opportunity first, but no-one took it, so I thought why not?”

For Devlin, Messi’s jersey is one to be treasured, but the midfielder admits that he doesn’t mind if such a response isn’t reciprocated by the Argentinian great. “I don’t know if it [the jersey] will be on his wall at home or maybe still on the ground in that changing room but I’m not fussed – it’s more that I got his,” he said. “I was surprised he even took mine.”

Devlin added, “He definitely wouldn’t know who I am, but he’s a nice enough bloke and a humble enough bloke to still show that respect, and that’s obviously super nice, but I wasn’t too worried about what my jersey was doing at that stage.”

Devlin also admitted that his father has already claimed possession of Messi’s shirt, but promised he would never sell it, despite the jersey being worth a staggering amount to collectors around the world. “The jersey is going to be at my home and my dad has got it. I don’t think he’ll let me touch it anymore,” said Devlin. 

While some voiced criticism at the Australian players for posing for pictures with Messi following the match, former Socceroo Robbie Slater said he had no problems with it, particularly given the impact Messi has had on the sport. “How often do you play Messi? Once – that’s probably it. If you’re lucky,” said Slater. “It was the same for me back in my day with Maradona. You’re talking about the greatest player in the planet. If you can go and get his shirt? I tip my hat – well done son!”

With the Socceroos out of contention, all eyes are on the remaining teams and for Argentina, theirs is a hard one to beat. With Lionel Messi, the team presents a formidable attack and the kind of athletic prowess few could rival. And yet, teams like England, Brazil and France all pose a significant risk, having showcased the kind of football that will make the remaining matches a must-watch. 

By Jessica Campbell

Jess is a storyteller committed to sharing the human stories that lie at the heart of sport.

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