Two gunmen fired at least a dozen shots into a store owned by Lionel Messi's in-laws in Argentina and left a threatening note for the international soccer star before fleeing on motorcycles, local police said.
That attack took place early Thursday morning in Rosario, Messi's hometown and the nation's third-largest city that sits roughly 185 miles northwest of Buenos Aires. The city has been plagued by drug violence in recent years. Nobody was injured in the attack on the Unico supermarket owned by the family of Messi's wife Antonella Roccuzzo.
Before fleeing, the gunmen left the note naming Messi and Rosario's mayor Pablo Javkin, police said, according to The Associated Press.
“Messi, we’re waiting for you," the note reads. "Javkin is also a drug trafficker, so he won’t take care of you.”
Messi has not publicly addressed the attack. The Argentina sports hero and seven-time Ballon d'Or winner was named FIFA's best men's player on Monday after leading his home country to World Cup victory in December.
Messi is training in Paris with his Ligue 1 club Paris Saint-Germain. The team posted images of Messi practicing on Wednesday.
Check out the photos from today's workout! 🤩https://t.co/JubLun9wqM
— Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_English) March 2, 2023
Javkin addressed the attack and portrayed it as an effort "to create chaos in the city," AFP reports.
"What story goes more quickly viral in the world than an attack on Messi?" Javkin said, per AFP.
He also lashed out at federal authorities while visiting the site of the attack.
“Where are the ones who need to take care of us?” Javkin said, per AP. “It’s clear that those who have the weapons and have the possibility of investigating the criminals aren’t doing it, and it’s very easy for any gang to carry out something like this.”
Santa Fe province justice minister Celia Arena characterized the attack as an act of "terrorism" conducted by "mafia" in a Twitter post on Thursday. Rosario is located in Santa Fe.
"With the mafia attack on the Roccuzzo family's business, knowing that it will be an event of global significance, the aim is to instill terror in the population and unease in those of us who are in the battle against criminal violence," Arena wrote. "It is, neither more nor less, the definition of terrorism."
Per AP, the federal government’s Security Minister Aníbal Fernández characterized the attack as drug-related violence typical to Rosario “for the last 20 years.”