Lionel Messi scored his first international hat trick in Argentina's 3-1 win against Switzerland on Wednesday and he is crediting the breakthrough to the intense hatred football fans have for FIFA's Swiss president, Sepp Blatter.
Though Messi has scored six hat tricks for Barcelona this season and a total of 13 over the last three years for the Catalan club, he had never been able to score three goals in one match for his country. But that finally changed during Wednesday's friendly in Switzerland, home to FIFA headquarters and Sepp Blatter's birthplace.
"I could feel the passion of all the football fans around the world," Messi told the Argentine press after the match. "All of their displeasure for Mr. Blatter fueled me to score those goals against his country. It felt very strange. I don't hate anyone, even Mr. Blatter, but lots of other people do. Even babies. And pelicans."
Blatter has become an internationally despised figure as the leader of football's governing body amid strong accusations of corruption and a lack of transparency. He has also made a series of remarks belittling women, homosexuals and the fight against racism.
"Every time I touched the ball, I would see it as Mr. Blatter's face and it would say to me, 'Lionel, I am going to destroy football and then you will have to become a businessman and eat peas.' And then I would think, 'I don't want to eat peas' and I would kick his ball face extra hard and it would go in," Messi said. "I think if everyone imagined Mr. Blatter's face on the ball, there would be a lot more goals."