A video of a clean-shaved, medium-built man pacing the touchline as football ace Lionel Messi was in action for his Major League Soccer team, Inter Miami, recently went viral.
His near proximity to the Argentine had many people wondering about his genuine identity.
The individual, according to La Nacion, is Yassine Chueko, a former US Navy Seal who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
According to the Daily Mail, Chueko was particularly hired on board by Inter Miami co-owner David Beckham to ensure Messi’s safety amid an increase in pitch incursions in recent years.
👮♂️🇦🇷 During Inter Miami matches, Leo Messi is followed by an ex-US Navy Seal for maximum security.
The bodyguard is a martial arts, boxer and taekwondo expert. He can be seen even following him during matches. pic.twitter.com/Gl8n1UzHXV
— EuroFoot (@eurofootcom) August 24, 2023
Chueko is in charge of ensuring Messi’s safe movement from the team bus to the changing rooms, in addition to condoning off-field intruders.
Apart from Messi, the signing of ex-Barca colleagues Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba means that the club will be watched more closely than before.
Club Director Jorge Mas stated that the club was aware of the security danger associated with the trio’s presence, which is why strict protection was provided even on the pitch.
“Security will obviously be enhanced. Players will be bussed in, going through a tunnel
“All of those security protocols are already prepared both for here and away. And it’s not only for our games. It’s going to be an everyday occurrence and something we witnessed, and I thought handled very well when (Messi) was here with Argentina before the World Cup.
“As you may recall, Argentina trained in Miami before they flew over to Doha. We had an opportunity to see some of the Messi mania at our doors on an everyday basis during practice. So, we’re very prepared. We’ve been getting ready for this,” Mas told Miami Herald in June.