World Cup superstar Lionel Messi has denied deliberately 'snubbing' a boy mascot before Argentina's opening game against Bosnia-Herzegovina.
In YouTube footage, the Barcelona star appeared to leave the small child bereft as he stretched out his hand before both sides' World Cup opener.
But when the striker was asked about the incident at a press conference on Monday, he was perplexed and mortified, saying: "How could it be that I did not want to greet the boy?
"I just did not realise he was there. In fact, I spoke to two other children in the line.
"I would never do such a thing when I have a nephew and young son, I would never do such a thing with a boy."
In the earlier - shorter - YouTube video, the player was seen walking past the boy to shake hands with the referees.
But in this longer clip, Messi goes back to seek out a mascot and to shake his hand - which he does, albeit with another boy dressed in the same kit.
Story continues after video.
So there you have it, conclusive proof that Lionel Messi, one of the world's greatest footballers, still has the grace and humility to make time for the little people - despite having the pressure of one of the biggest games of his life (in which he scored) on his mind.
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