Letter to Mr. Lionel Messi
Wednesday, December 11th, 2013 by Reza Pahlavi
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Dear Mr. Messi:
As an avid football fan, and someone who deeply believes in good sportsmanship, I was appalled by the recent comments by some reactionary individuals from my country, personally attacking you on your Facebook page.
While this kind of behavior is unfortunately inescapable around the world by a minority of people, this applies to Iran as well. The great majority of Iranians have always been courteous and respectful of world athletes, particularly superstars such as yourself. As a matter of fact, many young Iranians wear your jersey as a sign of admiration. I personally believe that you are probably the best soccer player I have ever seen, and your conduct and demeanor has been exemplary, on and off the field.
I therefore hope that you will discount the comments of those who undermine the ethics of good sportsmanship, and not interpret it as a sign of a sport-loving nation’s behavior.
I look forward to watching our national team play against the Argentinian national team in Brazil next summer!