August 25, 2023
2023 Rewind: Lionel Messi's Security Guard Becomes a Social Media Sensation Overnight
READ TIME: 2 MIN.
This piece is part of EDGE's 2023 Rewind series. We're reaching into our archives and sharing some of our favorite stories from the past year.
When Inter Miami captain Lionel Messi assisted in a goal against FC Cincinnati in Wednesday's U.S. Open semi-final, many noticed a bearded man sprinting to the touchline. But the man – Yassine Chueko – wasn't joining Messi and his teammates in celebration, he was acting as Messi's bodyguard to keep people away from the soccer superstar.
And after being spotted, Chueko began trending on social media.
"Chueko is a former US Army soldier who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan as a Navy Seal," said the Spanish-language news outlet La Nacion. He also, as he shows on his Instagram account, is an expert in martial arts , taekwondo and boxing, and he participated in several MMA fights, according to the Miami Diario media.
Chueko was "specifically brought on board by Inter Miami co-owner David Beckham," the Daily Mail said.
"The decision by Beckham to select the highly-skilled Chueko comes amid the rising number of pitch invaders in recent years. And, considering the fanfare that has been generated by Messi's unbelievable start to life in the US, the choice seems all the wiser."
Whatever the situation, Chueko is always in proximity of Messi. "In addition to taking care of him during matches, [Chueko] is always close to the Inter Miami player and he is seen sticking to it even when he (Messi) goes shopping with Antonela Roccuzzo and her children at the supermarket," La Nacion said.
Since he was entrusted with custody of Messi, this security expert has quintupled his number of followers on Instagram, of which he now has more than 110,000.
Check out pics from Chueko's Instagram: