Q&A with David Cardenas, the Perry man who rushed the field to meet Lionel Messi
A Perry man gained international attention after he rushed a field, alone, following the final whistle of a week two Copa America soccer match.
The recent Perry High School graduate and former PHS soccer player, David Cardenas, 18, took the Internet by storm when he illegally met Argentine footballer Lionel Messi, on Soldier Field immediately after the Argentina vs. Panama soccer match on June 11, in Chicago.
Cardenas told the Perry Chief that Messi is his favorite soccer player. He started watching Messi with his brother and family when he played for Barcelona.
He then told Perry Chief staff about his encounter with the famous athlete.
Did you have this planned?
“Yes. The day I bought the ticket I thought, ‘I’m going to do this.’ We were sitting on the opposite side of the stadium from where I ran.There was too much security on that side and there were some advertisements there. I went to the opposite side then made my way down to the first row. After the game was finished the whistle set me off. I took off past security, jumped the barricade and then I ran up to him.”
What happened next?
“I didn’t have much time until I was tackled by security. Messi and Sergio Aguero, another player for Argentina, made sure I was okay and handed me my phone. I got my shirt signed.”
Messi also hugged Cardenas.
“That was a reason why the story blew up. He was always labeled as a very humble player and it really showed in that moment. He could’ve just walked away and let security do their job. But he wanted to make sure that I was okay and let me get what I wanted accomplished.”
Were you aware of the consequences?
“I knew that I would have to go to at least a stadium jail and be released after the game. I didn’t know I would have to go to the actual police station.”
Cardenas was taken to a Chicago jail and is charged for trespassing.
Would you do this again?
“I wouldn’t do this again, but, I don’t regret what I did. If I had to do it all over, would I have done it? Yes. I won’t do it again.”
Cardenas is an incoming Grand View University soccer player.
Has Grand View University given you a reaction?
“Yeah. The Grand View soccer page tweeted at me. There is a link to the video and they said ‘It looks like we need to work on your footwork,” he chuckled.
It didn’t affect you being on the team?
“One of my assistant coaches said that I should shout out Grand View to give it (the university) more publicity, so, I’m sure I’ll be fine.”
On Twitter your story blew up. Can you explain that?
“It’s crazy. When I got my phone back from security I saw how blown up my homepage was. I got 1,000 something followers. It blew up like crazy.”
Can you add anything else about your experience?
“One thing no one asked me about was the other player, Aguero. I think he deserves more recognition than what he has. I didn’t call his name on the field, I called for Messi. He (Aguero) went out of this way to go back and make sure I was okay. He actually speaks English - he played for the Premier League - he was talking to the security guard and telling them to be careful with me. He picked up my phone. That was really cool.”