Yassine Chueko is the former US soldier personally selected by David Beckham to follow the Argentina star everywhere as his bodyguard at Inter Miami.
When Lionel Messi announced his move to Inter Miami, the world of football was abuzz.
The Argentine wizard was making his way to Major League Soccer (MLS), promising new beginnings and elevated matches.
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Yet, while Messi's footwork and goals remain centre-stage, another name has risen into the spotlight: Yassine Chueko.
Chueko is not a footballer, but he is arguably as important to Messi's new journey. As reported by the Daily Mail, David Beckham personally selected Chueko, a former US soldier who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, to be Messi's steadfast personal bodyguard. This choice was not made on a whim.
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Yassine Chueko is not just a typical bodyguard. With a background in MMA, along with proficiency in martial arts disciplines like taekwondo and boxing, he embodies the ideal shield for a superstar like Messi.
The increasing instances of pitch invaders in recent years, combined with the frenzied Messi mania around the icon's transition to the US, is what made this an imperative security decision for the stars' arrival.
An example of Chueko's commitment to the job went viral on Wednesday during Inter Miami's clash against Cincinnati. As Messi celebrated the last-minute equaliser, Chueko was seen sprinting down the sideline overseeing the celebrations.
Beyond the boundaries of the pitch, Chueko is omnipresent when it comes to Messi. Whether ensuring Messi's secure transition from the team bus to the changing rooms or awaiting Messi's appearance at the club's bus entrance, Chueko is a constant.
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The lanky forward suffered a nasty knee injury back in February and is yet to return to action.
While Chueko's expertise ensures Messi's safety, the football maestro is dazzling the US with his talents. The rollercoaster of Inter Miami's recent semi-final against Cincinnati is just another example.
Facing a 2-0 deficit, Messi's brilliance shone through, assisting both goals during regular play, culminating in a heart-pounding 5-4 penalty shootout win.
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Miami secured their place in the US Open Cup final, just days after being crowned League Cup champions, in only a month since his arrival. The club is now in its second final appearance and on the brink of winning their second title in club history.
With a staggering 10 goals and three assists in just eight matches, Messi's performance speaks volumes. As the US Open final beckons, there's no doubt that all eyes will be on Messi, but alongside him, ensuring his safety off the pitch will be Yassine Chueko - the unsung protector of Inter Miami.