Israeli social media users are challenging Argentinian-Spanish soccer superstar Lionel Messi to acknowledge the death of Daniel Tregerman, a four-year-old Israeli boy who admired the international soccer star. Daniel was killed by a Hamas mortar shell fired at his home in Kibbutz Nahal Oz Friday.
Last photos of Daniel show him sporting Messi's number 10 jersey, in Argentinian national colors.
Messi wrote two weeks ago that as a father and a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, he is “terribly saddened by the images coming from the conflict between Israel and Palestine, where violence has already claimed so many young lives and to injure countless children.” The post featured a photo of an injured Palestinian child.
The international star plays for FC Barcelona, a soccer team funded by the Qatari government, which also serves as Hamas’ chief financier.
“Hey Leo Messi, take a look at that boy, Daniel Tregerman, wearing the national jersey of the best player in the world,” Liran Cohen, an Israeli citizen, wrote in a Facebook post that tagged Messi.
“As you can see, you were Daniel’s hero. He was killed today, by a mortar which was fired by Hamas, the terror organization that your team’s #1 sponsors is [sic] sponsoring,” Cohen wrote. “Is this what you stand for? FC Barcelona—is this what you stand for? I guess money can buy everything.”
The post went viral on Facebook and also on Twitter, but has yet to prompt a response from Messi.
The mayor of the town of Raanana also urged Messi to condemn Tregerman’s death, according to Israel Hayom.
“A personal word to Leo Messi: Daniel looked up to You and saw in You more than a football star,” the paper quoted Mayor Zeev Bielski as writing. “For your information, the Qatars [sic] who finance your football club, are also sponsors of the hamas who launched the missile that killed your 4 years [sic] old fan, Daniel.”
Daniul’s mother, Gila, also noted that her son was a huge fan of Messi’s while recounting the details of Hamas’ rocket attack.
“The children were playing in a tent inside the house, and from the moment of the siren to the explosion only three seconds passed,” Gila Tregerman was quoted as saying by Israel’s Foreign Ministry. “We didn’t have time to get the children and go into the protected room.”
“Daniel was very responsible about the warnings and the sirens, and whenever there was an alert he knew just what to do,” she said. “Once everyone was inside the safe room he would say, ‘Now we’re all safe.’ This time he had only three seconds from the siren to the explosion, and didn’t make it. Daniel was a soccer fan and sported a Lionel Messi shirt.”