He held Messi’s hand before Brest-PSG, the daydream of Landivisien Nolan Ollivier
Saturday March 11, 2023, shortly before 9 p.m. The Francis-Le Blé stadium is packed. The 14,935 spectators are in turmoil. It screams, it sings. This evening, the Stade Brestois faces the Parisian ogre and its galaxy of stars on behalf of the 27th day of Ligue 1 football. As usual before kick-off, the players enter the pitch hand in hand with children. Nolan Ollivier, 12, is one of them. At his side, a certain Lionel Messi. The one, the only. The Goat (“Greatest off all time”, the best of all time, editor’s note). The young Landivisien, a fifth-grade student at Saint-Joseph College, is living a waking dream. His eyes sparkle. Her angel face radiates happiness. He is on another planet and breath of emotion. Immortalized by the cameras, this magical moment was seen by millions of people, live and then on social networks. “It was the happiest day of my life”, assures the young boy, still on cloud nine a week after the event.
My father had warned me that to enter the field with the Parisian players, I had to choose a Stade Brestois jersey. That’s what I did when I arrived. The other children threw themselves on the Parisian jerseys.
“When I saw it, I was shocked”
This beautiful story began with a stroke of luck. Sébastien, the dad, a big fan of Paris Saint-Germain, works at Quéguiner Matériaux, one of the main sponsors of Stade Brestois 29. A club that offers employees of partner companies the opportunity to register their children for pre- home game. “For the PSG, there were more than a hundred registered, he remembers. Nolan was drawn. When she found out, mum Stéphanie played the lottery. But it was the little one who hit the jackpot. And that is not entirely by chance.
Handball player within the Entente Bas-Léon (EBL), but supporter, like dad, of the Parisian armada, and in particular of its offensive line MNM (Mbappé, Neymar, Messi), Nolan has, in fact, set up a strategy. “My father had warned me that to enter the field with the Parisian players, I had to choose a Stade Brestois jersey, he says. That’s what I did when I arrived. The other children threw themselves on the Parisian jerseys. Error ! »
After the warm-up, which Nolan was able to attend for half an hour at the edge of the lawn, came the fateful moment. “We knew that in the absence of Marquinhos, Mbappé would be captain and would enter among the first”, rewinds the dad. To have a chance of holding Messi’s hand, you had to be among the last in the tunnel, the father-son duo had estimated. Bingo.
“I didn’t know if it was going to work. I put myself second to last. When I saw him coming near me, I was shocked! I asked Marco Verratti if I was okay holding Messi’s hand. He smiled and said yes, that I was lucky”. A seamless plan.
Verratti at the translation
It was the same Verratti who translated the few words addressed by Nolan to the Argentinian, recent world champion and seven-time Ballon d’Or. “He didn’t understand what I was saying. He didn’t talk too much but smiled when I said the word “Goat” to him. He was nice. I asked him if I could have his jersey at the end of the match. He said yes to me but finally gave it to a Brest player at the final whistle.
I didn’t pay attention to the cameras and I don’t remember making that face at all.
The minutes that followed? An emotional slap. “It was amazing everyone. And I returned to the lawn next to Messi! It was very short but I was able to check all the players, including Kylian. It slams! I believe I was natural. I didn’t pay attention to the cameras and I don’t remember having made that face at all, ”says the 1.47 m boy. Twelve centimeters shorter than his idol, to whom he once turned, as if to make sure he wasn’t dreaming.
“As soon as he entered the field, I received messages from everywhere, smiles the mother. Family, friends, neighbors… I didn’t even see the first half on TV. Everyone laughed saying that my son was very corporate since he had an Arkéa jersey, where I work. »
Immediately, the images made the buzz on social networks. Nothing to scare parents, all comments being benevolent. Not enough to make Nolan tremble either. “Over three million views on TikTok? Yeah, that’s good… But hey, Ligue 1 has more than seven million subscribers so that’s normal. »
A dream: discover the Parc des Princes
Since then, of course, Nolan Ollivier has become a small star in his college. And even in her big sister Lilou’s high school. “Everyone asks me how I did, how was Messi. I tell them,” he explains simply. Has he washed his hands since? “Yeah,” he replies seriously. “Verratti also caressed his cheek. He could have completely stopped taking showers, ”teases his mother, who assures that Nolan has come back to earth.
I would like to see Messi play again at the Parc des Princes. And then, I have a jersey to recover!
Happy with the Parisian victory (1-2) in Brest, “even if PSG was lucky”, Nolan hopes that Stade Brestois will save themselves this season. “To be able to go back to see matches there. »
His dream now: to discover the Parc des Princes in Paris. Anyone who has already been to Francis-Le Blé (Brest), Roudourou (Guingamp) and the Emirates Stadium (Arsenal, London), would like to see Messi play again. “Besides, I have a jersey to recover! »
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