Google the name “Lionel Messi” and “bicycle” and until yesterday all you’d have got would have been videos of the Barcelona and Argentina football star scoring goals with bicycle kicks. Now, the search results will include a Pinarello Dogma F8 bike in Team Sky colours.
Messi, who has won the Ballon d’Or – awarded to the year’s best player – on four occasions, was presented with the bike at Barcelona’s training facility by Team Sky principal Sir David Brailsford and Fausto Pinarello, chairman of the Italian bike maker.
As well as the bike, customised with words “Leo 10,” which also appear – together with the Argentinian flag – on the sleeve of a Rapha Team Sky jersey that was also presented to him.
The 28-year-old was apparently very taken with the bike’s electronic Shimano Di2 gearing, and was also keen to learn about the bike’s technical aspects as well as finding out how Team Sky go about their training.
The WorldTour team says that its mechanic, David Fernandez, helped organise the gifts after a mutual friend asked if there was any chance of getting Messi a bike.
With the footballer trousering a weekly net salary of £256,000, it’s presumably the thought, rather than the money, that counts here.
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.