October 14, 2011
Following Argentina's first-ever loss to Venezuela, Lionel Messi, Javier Mascherano, German Denis, Ever Banega and two coaches were scheduled to fly from Caracas to Barcelona. According to Venezuelan paper El Universal, Messi was arranged to be the last person to board the flight after the lights had been turned off so none of the other passengers would see him. But as he was ushered into first class to join the other players, he was spotted and there was a mad rush that overtook the first class cabin.
With Messi trapped, it was decided that there was only one place he could hide: In the cockpit. From El Universal:
Aviation rules do not allow visits to the cockpit when the plane flies less than 10 thousand feet, but it was Messi and it was the only way to calm the fervor to start the trip.
Since the attacker was off the radar, Mascherano, Denis and Banega, at the start of the trip, were the targets of children and not so young. The aisle of the plane filled as if it were a bus.
Messi eventually came out of his hiding place and took pictures with the flight attendants.
Given the fact that Messi was scolded by a pilot when he broke off a piece of an emergency exit on Barcelona's flight home from clinching the league title last season, it's amazing they were willing to break the rules and let him in the cockpit with all those vital gadgets and buttons. They probably promised him a new Lego set if he agreed not to touch anything.