Lionel Messi is considered one of the greatest footballers of all time and led Argentina’s national team to their third FIFA World Cup victory in 2022 in Qatar. The Paris Saint-Germain ace was named the tournament’s best player, but is unlikely to return for the 2026 World Cup.
Saeed Martinez, from Honduras, was part of the selected referees representing CONCACAF in Qatar, but he only served as an assistant. The 31-year-old has spoken about making his dream come true, with FIFA saying he will be part of future refereeing for the upcoming campaign.
“It’s a dream come true. I never thought I would be called to referee the World Cup at the age of 31. I am happy with my job and ready for the next tournament in three and a half years,” Martinez said in an interview with Diario Díez in Honduras.
“I told the children the joy that Messi brings.”
“It was an incredible experience to be in the locker room before the game started. Only when you look back at the photos can you remember what happened, ”added Martinez.
“Because I was the only referee who spoke Spanish, I had the opportunity to speak with Messi in the tunnel before the game against Poland. I remember telling him the joy he brings to children and Messi saying that children are a blessing.