Long-suffering fans of Liga MX club Atlas have not seen their team win a first-division title since 1951, but the Guadalajara institution achieved something on Thursday that no other Mexican club can boast: Lionel Messi followed them on Instagram.
Big day for @atlasfc. The Mexican club officially welcomed Lionel Messi to the “red-and-black family.”
— Tom Marshall (@mexicoworldcup) January 18, 2019
And they made the most of being one of the 219 accounts that Messi follows.
Los Rojinegros posted an Instagram story “welcoming” Messi to the “red-and-black” family, before adding another explaining that he wasn’t actually joining the struggling club, but had actually only followed the club on Instagram.
Rival fans mercilessly made fun of Atlas boasting about the “achievement,” even if it was meant to be tongue-in-cheek.
This will be their biggest win of the season 😂
— Joely (@JoelyAceves) January 18, 2019
Messi starting follow Atlas on Instagram…
Messi about to take on the toughest challenge of his career and make Atlas become champions after +50 years 😂
— Victor 🇲🇽🇬🇹 (@_vicalexander) January 18, 2019
But while Messi is unlikely to explain the follow, there are some genuine links between “La Pulga” and Atlas. The most prominent is Atlas head coach Angel Guillermo Hoyos, who managed Barcelona B when Messi was coming through and who the Argentine has poured praise on previously.
Then there is the fact that former Barcelona teammate Rafa Marquez is currently the sporting director.
But unfortunately for Atlas fans, the Instagram follow is unlikely to turn into anything more, with Messi dreaming of finishing his career at another club that plays in red-and-black: Newell’s Old Boys.
What would he look like if he did join Atlas? Eat your hearts out Atlas supporters …
Lo que me imagine al ver que Messi le dio follow a la página del Atlas en insta pic.twitter.com/zn2DsuXos4
— Rodri ◟̽◞̽ (@Vc10Rodrigo) January 18, 2019