The Real Reason Why Soccer Star Leo Messi Brought 6,000 lbs of Meat to Qatar World Cup
“It’s part of our culture.”
If an army marches on its stomach, it's no surprise that soccer star Lionel Messi and his teammates brought the one food they couldn't do without at the World Cup—meat. Messi and the Argentina squad brought almost 6,000 pounds of beef with them to Qatar and even chose to stay in student accommodations to make regular barbecues easier.
"It seems like a a lot of meat, but the Argentine delegation is large and includes the coaching staff, doctors, kinesiologists, kit-men, chefs, and even a hairdresser," explains Argentinian news website Todo Noticias (TN). Here's what is included in that huge amount of meat and why the Argentinians brought it with them.
Anyone who has ever visited an Argentinian grill restaurant will understand the passion Argentinians have for their beef. Part of the carnivore feast the soccer team brought with them is 800 pounds of flank steak called vacio, and 300 pounds of beef rib called tira de asado.
The team was so determined to have their barbecues that they swapped the usual 5-star hotel accommodations intended for World Cup teams and went for (admittedly updated) student dig where they could grill away in peace. "We visited the campus several times and chose it because not only does it have great facilities, but it also has open-air space for asados," the Argentina Football Association says.
A special barbecue has reportedly been built so the team can enjoy their grilled meat. "This is very important to the players and Argentines in general, it's part of our culture," the Football Association continues. "We want to make them feel at home while they are in Qatar, and the best way to do this is to make sure that they get a taste of home while focusing on the football."
Uruguay is another carnivore country, and the national team took 1,763 pounds of beef with them. "The national team is being accompanied by the best nourishment," says Uruguay FA (AUF) president Ignacio Alonso. "The AUF is a historic ambassador of our country and will take with it another ambassador, which is Uruguayan meat, the best meat in the world."
The Argentina team seems very happy with less luxurious digs in exchange for their grilled delights. "You could say other teams have opted to stay in more luxurious accommodation but our team is the best in the world which also deserves the best beef. Our focus is to win the World Cup, not the quality of the hotel we are staying in," the Argentina Football Association says. This task will be much more difficult after Argentina sensationally lost its first game in the tournament to low-rated Saudi Arabia. Maybe bringing so much beef was not that great an idea after all.