Everywhere you go in Doha over the past week, you’ll hear people talking about Lionel Messi.
Thousands of people – creating a sea of blue and white – have come to watch their hero in what is likely to be his last World Cup tournament.
It seems you don’t need to be from Argentina to be a fan of the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner.
“I get to see the man himself,” Belal Ahmed, who traveled from the US to watch Messi play, told CNN Sport.
“It took a while, the flight from the US to Saudi Arabia was about 12 hours. I had a layover there for 24 hours and then got here (Doha) two hours later.
“I’m here to see other games, but yeah, mainly to see Messi.”
Messi is a name that seems to bridge any language barrier, with fans coming over and chanting the forward’s name as Ahmed spoke with CNN.
Messi is undoubtedly the most popular player among fans in Doha, with many trying to find a ticket to watch him in the flesh.
The World Cup is the only trophy not yet in the superstar’s cabinet, and the 35-year-old is in the last-chance saloon at Qatar 2022.
He has the Argentine squad ahead 1-0 after the first half of its match against Australia Saturday.
Read more about Messi fandom in Qatar here.