Soccer wasn't always Lionel Messi's favorite activity.
When he was a child in the modest neighborhood of La Bajada in his Argentine hometown of Rosario, he spent his time bicycling with friends, building forts out of branches and stones, playing hide and seek — and occasionally stealing lemons from a neighbor to make juice.
Those stories and others are the focus of a new tour being offered by Rosario to celebrate their 32-year-old hometown hero, an international sports superstar who just won an unprecedented sixth Golden Ball as world soccer's player of the year.
The tour put together by Rosario's city hall is free of charge and available in an app translated into several languages, guiding fans through 10 stops.
Few houses are higher than two stories in La Bajada, a middle-class neighborhood in the city that is 186 miles (300 kilometers) northwest of Buenos Aires.
Halfway down Israel street stands a gray house, closed off by shut curtains and protected by railings. There is no sign outside indicating it was Messi's home, and no one lives there now, though it still belongs to his family.
The neighbors aren't so shy about the Messi connection, however. Colorful paintings dedicated to the soccer star stand in front of houses and there are sidewalks colored in the blue and white of Argentina's national team with Messi's jersey number, 10, painted in black.
Messi's neighbors and friends are often willing to share stories with visitors.
"Leo was normal and ordinary like other people here," Diego Vallejos, one of Messi's childhood friends, told The Associated Press on a sandy soccer field of the El Campito club as three youngsters played soccer.
"We fell, we scratched ourselves riding bikes. We went to the street with water bombs and threw them at buses," said Vallejos, who is one year older than Messi.
Also are on the tour are the school Messi attended and the Abanderado Grandoli club, where he learned his first soccer moves.
The city long had a somewhat distant relationship with Messi, and officials say the tour seeks to change that. Rosario's city hall said Messi's family did not take part in the creation of the tour.
"What we want to emphasize is that Leo is a product of his city, and that there is a life and many stories behind the superstar," said Santiago Valenti with Rosario's tourism agency.
Messi was born June 24, 1987, in the Hospital Italiano Garibaldi in Rosario. He lived in the city until 2000, when he moved to Barcelona.
A recently opened sports museum, a few blocks from Messi's old house, offers an interactive tour of the lives of local stars in racing, boxing, basketball and soccer.
Messi's section of the museum is introduced by a painting that mixes monuments from Rosario and Barcelona, and the sentence: "All that I did, I did for soccer." Two giant screens display goals and testimonials from his teammates.
"The idea is not to pay a tribute to his sporting success," said museum coordinator Juan Echeverría. "It is to value the path he walked, everything that an athlete has to go through to get to the tip of the iceberg that we see when he is on the podium."
The museum has contacted Messi's family and the player's father said he would donate more memorabilia.
One of items on display is a small red shirt with a white collar. Below it is Messi's official register as a Newell's Old Boys academy player and a picture of him smiling.
Downtown is the Malvinas compound where Newell's has its soccer academy. It was there the young Messi was filmed out-dribbling much bigger opponents.
"This is where it all started," said Lisandro Conte, an employee at the academy.
Messi did not play for Newell's. "At that time there were players who looked more promising, and the bet was placed on them," Conte said.
Still, Messi has said he wants to finish his career at Newell's, playing for his hometown club in his own country after a professional career in Barcelona's storied Spanish league team.
Fans visiting Rosario might even be able to catch a match between teams like the recent clash between Newell's and arch-rival Rosario Central. Among the 14 youngsters chasing the ball might be Rosario's next star.
Police on Sunday questioned a soccer fan who was arrested after being seen on camera at Manchester City's stadium appearing to racially abuse Manchester United players by imitating a monkey.
During the second half of the Premier League's Manchester derby, police said they were called to reports of a "supporter making alleged racist gestures and sounds towards players."
United informed the referee and City officials that its players, Jesse Lingard and Fred, were being subjected to abuse at the Etihad Stadium where United won 2-1.
"We are providing support to our players who were impacted ," United posted on Twitter on Sunday. "We will continue to combat and educate against racism and discrimination."
A 41-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of a racially aggravated public order offense, police said in a statement which did not name the suspect. He remains in custody for questioning.
"Racism of any kind has no place in football or our society and I hope this arrest shows that we are taking this matter extremely seriously," said superintendent Chris Hill of Greater Manchester Police.
"We will continue to work with Manchester City and Manchester United Football clubs on this incident and will investigate any other lines of enquiries."
Fred was seen crouching on the field holding the back of his neck after being hit by objects.
"Thank God I have a lot of friends here in the locker room who hugged me, like Lingard," Fred told ESPN. "I don't want to think about it. I just want to move on."
It is the latest high-profile racist abuse faced by United players this season. Striker Marcus Rashford faced abuse online for missing a penalty.
A club-record eighth successive Premier League victory for Leicester. An eighth straight game scoring for Jamie Vardy.
Leicester has rolled the clock back four years with another title challenge that gathered more momentum with Vardy netting twice in a 4-1 victory over Aston Villa on Sunday.
The problem for Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers is that Liverpool is eight points in front. There is still more than half the season remaining and a meeting between the top two on Dec. 26.
"I don't think anyone expects us to be near the top," Rodgers said. "After Manchester United won at Manchester City on Saturday, the caption came up about how far City are away from Liverpool (14 points). We respect that, we get on with our work and keep developing as a team."
Rodgers knows all about title challenges, winning the Scottish top flight twice with Celtic after falling just short of City in the 2014 title race while managing Liverpool.
He watched from afar as Claudio Ranieri defied 5,000-1 odds to win the Premier League for Leicester in 2016.
"We have finished ninth in the last two seasons but today we looked like a top team," Rodgers said. "It was a real historic day, to surpass the club record of straight wins in the top flight was fantastic for us."
Vardy opened the scoring in the 20th minute and Kelechi Iheanacho doubled the lead four minutes before halftime.
Jack Grealish pulled a goal back in first-half stoppage time but Jonny Evans' header after the break restored Leicester's two-goal advantage. Vardy wrapped the game up with 15 minutes left and the striker is three games from matching his record of scoring in 11 straight Premier League games in the title-winning campaign.
"Jamie is such a top-level player, he is always ready when the chances come," Rodgers said. "I don't think there's any doubt he isn't going to score."
Celtic extended its domination of Scottish football by beating Glasgow rival Rangers 1-0 in the League Cup final on Sunday to seal a 10th consecutive domestic trophy.
Steven Gerrard's Rangers was punished for spurning scoring chances when Celtic defender Christopher Jullien knocked in a free kick from Ryan Christie in the 59th minute.
Celtic goalkeeper Fraser Forster then saved a penalty from Alfredo Morelos, after defender Jeremie Frimpong had been sent off for fouling the striker.
Rangers has now gone eight years without a major title, which covers a spell when the team was forced to start again in the bottom tier in 2012 for financial mismanagement.
An early goal by midfielder Sunil Bal helped hosts Nepal to eliminate Bangladesh U-23 team from the title race of the South Asian Games Men’s Football on Sunday.
Bangladesh conceded a 0-1 goal defeat against Nepal in their fourth and last league match at the Dasharath Rangasala Stadium in Kathmandu. Bal netted the match winner in the 11th minute.
Bangladesh captain Jamal Bhuiyan got a red card just a few seconds before the final whistle (90+6 minutes).
Nepal will now play against Bhutan in the final on Tuesday (December 10) at 5:15pm (BdST) at the same venue.
Bangladesh booters had a bright chance to regain the games soccer title after eight years when they beat Sri Lanka by 1-0 goal in their third match.
Bangladesh started SA Games campaign with an embarrassing 0-1 goal defeat against lowly Bhutan in the opening match and played out a 1-1 draw with Maldives in the second match.
Bangladesh men’s team clinched the SA Games Football crown twice – first in the 1999 in Kathmandu and then in 2010 in Dhaka.