January 30, 2023

The cheek of these Socceroos! How ‘raging’ Aussie striker Mitch Duke snatched Lionel Messi’s other jersey when they were both drug tested after World Cup knockout match

From the Melita Stadium in western Sydney to the line-up against Lionel Messi at the World Cup; it’s been a remarkable sporting journey for Socceroos striker Mitchell Duke – and it can now be revealed that the 31-year-old has also taken the Argentine superstar’s jersey after beating the valiant Aussies in Qatar.

Duke and Messi were called for a post-match drug test at Ahmad bin Ali Stadium last Sunday (AEDT) after the Round of 16 knockout clash – and the Japanese striker was boiling.

“The last game, as it ended, all I wanted was to spend time with the guys after the trip we had,” Duke told CODE Sports.

“So I was furious.”

Australia's Mitchell Duke (left) and Argentina's Lionel Messi battle for the ball during the World Cup Round of 16 match at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium

Australia’s Mitchell Duke (left) and Argentina’s Lionel Messi battle for the ball during the World Cup Round of 16 match at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium

Duke and Messi were called up for a drug test at Ahmad bin Ali Stadium last Sunday - and initially the Australian striker wasn't happy

Duke and Messi were called up for a drug test at Ahmad bin Ali Stadium last Sunday – and initially the Australian striker wasn’t happy

Messi doesn’t speak English, so Duke eventually plucked up the courage to ask for his hero’s jersey through an interpreter.

After downing seven water bottles so he could provide a urine sample, Duke trudged back to the Australian locker room to find a souvenir he’ll always treasure atop his bag: a priceless gift from the Argentine equipment man, no less.

Duke, who is currently on holiday in the UK with his family, confirmed that Messi’s prized jersey will be an important addition to his ‘man cave’ once he retires.

It comes after fringe Socceroos midfielder Cameron Devlin stripped Messi’s matchday shirt.

‘I continued [the pitch] and first comforted all the boys and then shook Messi’s hand,” said Devlin.

“No one had said anything, so I just tried my luck and he said, ‘I’ll see you in,'” and that’s what happened.

Duke (pictured, competing for the ball with Messi during their knockout match) had a World Cup to remember, scoring the winner against Tunisia

Duke (pictured, competing for the ball with Messi during their knockout match) had a World Cup to remember, scoring the winner against Tunisia

Cameron Devlin and Messi shake hands and swap shirts in Qatar after Argentina's 2-1 win over the Socceroos

Cameron Devlin and Messi shake hands and swap shirts in Qatar after Argentina’s 2-1 win over the Socceroos

Messi shreds the Socceroos defense to lead his side to a 2-1 victory in the knockout stage of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar

Messi scored Argentina’s crucial first goal in their 2-1 victory over the valiant Socceroos in Qatar

“I definitely wanted one of the other guys to get the chance first, but no one took it, so I thought, why not?”

Showing the man’s size, Messi also accepted Devlin’s jersey – despite the fact that he probably had no idea who he was.

“I don’t know if it’s going to be on his wall at home or maybe still on the floor in that dressing room, but I’m not worried — it’s more that I have his,” Devlin said.

“I was surprised he even took mine.

“He definitely wouldn’t know who I am, but he’s nice enough and humble enough to still show that respect, which of course is super nice, but I wasn’t too worried about what my jersey was wearing at the time.” doing was. .’

Devlin is back for a short break in Sydney before returning to work for Scotland club Hearts, revealing that the cherished jersey will remain in Australia.

“My father has it,” he said. “I don’t think I’m allowed to touch him again.”

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