“Leo, this is Tomi, I need to meet you. Not even more than twenty surgeries stopped me from getting to you!!! You give me a hug?”, said a solitary flag in front of the hotel where the Argentine team was concentrated in Bilbao waiting to play their second friendly for Europe against Estonia in Pamplona.
A second flag held by a boy dressed in a Boca jersey reads “Angel and Leo, I’m Tomi. I need to fulfill my dream. They are my dream team. They help me?”.
The story of Tomás Friggeri, 18, is incredible wherever you look at it. Her mother, Fernanda Ramírez, tells Infobae that his son’s great passion is football. Since he was born with congenital problems that meant more than twenty different surgeries “and in a zero inclusive country”, soccer was his great love and, in fact, he is an open book on the subject, with a prodigious memory.
The family, from Santa Fe, thought of emigrating “not for economic reasons, but because of insecurity,” says Fernanda, and already established for a few months in Barcelona until they managed to settle in Palma de Mallorca, they traveled to Paris when in a bus from the city they met Yair Yoma, a compatriot who was talking with another Argentine, Sabrina.
The truth is that for Tomi everything that would begin to live would be incredible –so much so that her mother tries to make her understand that not everything in life will be like what they are living now-: “Crazy things happened to us. And one was to find Yair and Sabrina on the bus.
Yair suggested they go to Messi’s house, something that seemed crazy at first, but little by little it became a solid idea. It was there that Fernanda showed him some photos that her nephew had taken using the “Street View” program.
By chance they met one of those days near Messi’s house and discovered that they were two blocks away, but neither of the two groups was completely right and they wrote messages to each other. “Actually, I wrote to Fernanda to tell her that she was close to Messi’s house, but it hadn’t even occurred to me that she could also be going that same day,” says Yair.
“Asking, we found the house and stood guard and listened to them talk. At one point, Ciro, the youngest, stops, and he closes the window in our faces. Then they take out the garbage from the house and we look out. We discovered some huge cardboards and when we opened them, we saw that they were full of drawings of Messi’s children. There you realize how human they are because you see that for days they gave their children those cardboard boxes and they gave them colored fibrons and they say things like ‘Ciro, Christmas thief, ‘Thiago Messi Roccuzzo’, their names, of the grandparents. And of course, I have all that, and it goes to my house, forget it. And also, we wrote a letter to Leo where he sent him photos of the drawings because he doesn’t know anything about this”, Fernanda enthuses.
But the story did not end there: “In a moment -Fernanda continues- Antonella comes out with the car, stops, lowers the window, super attentive, we were very polite, and she told us “guys, don’t waste time because she’s not here”. He had gone to Saudi Arabia to shoot a publicity (in fact, he was appointed the country’s ambassador). There we decided to leave when a Frenchman passed by us who was a resident of the area and who recommended that we not take photos of the house because the Messi do not like it, and although we accepted, we took many but we never published any on social networks ”.
“Later, we sent a letter to Leo telling him that we have the cards with the inscriptions of the boys and everything that Tomi had to experience and the illusion he has of meeting him and that unfortunately, the day we went to his house he was not in France, and he sent us a video in which he greets Tomi and it was very exciting, a phenomenon”, Fernanda gets excited.
The point is that since Fernanda, Tomi, Yair and Sabrina couldn’t find Messi, They asked this neighbor if he knew where Leandro Paredes and Ángel Di María could live, because Yair – a graduate in tourism and president of the Boca Consulate in Copenhagen – knew that their homes were nearby. The Parisian hesitated but finally gave them the coordinates and they wrote on one of the cardboard collected around Messi’s house, greetings to Di María.
“We crossed the street and my aunt (that’s what Yair calls Fernanda) asked us where we were going, and I told her ‘to look for a friend,’ so to speak, and when we were about to ring the doorbell of Di María’s house, she Jorgelina, his wife, appears and shouts “hello guys” and Ángel comes down and opens the door for us, and we already grabbed our heads”. “I screamed –recalls Fernanda-, Tomi too. He touched him, hugged him, cried and there Angelito gave him the 11 of the Copa América, although we don’t think it was the one he used against Brazil because it would be too much. There we started talking and I regretted not having asked him to film him for a little while playing the play with Tomi, because we were down a lot and he wouldn’t have had any story, and my son told him ‘thanks for the Copa América.’”
“With everything that happened, Tomi is noble, a warrior”, insists Fernanda, who says that since that Parisian experience, they follow the National Team wherever they can, as can be seen with that lonely flag that flew in front of the Gran Hotel Domine in Bilbao. “We were in London in Argentina-Italy and we took Tomi to Abbey Road, because The Beatles are another of his passions, and a lady who saw it started to cry. At Wembley she took photos with Dibu Martínez. It was unforgettable”, Fernanda enthuses.
Yair wants to convince them to go to the World Cup even though she says no. He got by lottery tickets for the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals in Qatar. Fernanda says that she doesn’t think they’ll go, but he thinks he still has time to convince his new aunt.
In the end, when they were planning the trip to Pamplona for the match against Estonia, the story had the happiest and most expected ending: suddenly, someone crossed Lersundi street and told them that Messi was waiting for them inside the hotel. And so the delayed embrace took place. Tomi’s dream had been more than fulfilled.
But something else was missing: after the game, Messi gave a shirt to Tomi. It was sent to him with a member of the National Team’s technical team. Fernanda described how they felt after 5-0 in simple words: “Incredibly good. They tell us that we have to go to the World Cup. Tomi brought Leo luck.”