Meet Yassine Cheuko; Lionel Messi’s US Navy Seal-Turned MMA Fighter Bodyguard

The GOAT of all bodyguards.

Meet Yassine Cheuko; Lionel Messi’s US Navy Seal-Turned MMA Fighter Bodyguard

Image: Reuters

If you happen to watch Inter Miami’s Major League Soccer games lately, you will notice a tough-looking muscular guy who follows Lionel Messi wherever the football GOAT goes… but who is Lionel Messi’s bodyguard?

That man is Yassine Cheuko who is tasked to protect Lionel Messi from passionate football fans on and off the football field. 

The 36-year-old Argentinian has caused a stir in the United States since arriving in Florida earlier this year to continue his legendary career with Inter Miami. When Messi arrived at David Beckham’s newly formed MLS side, they were bottom of the league and without a win in months. Messi’s influence on this team has been nothing short of miraculous.

Messi is the talk of the town; from A-Listers and Hollywood’s biggest stars to NBA Hall of Famers and actual members of the British monarchy, everybody wants a piece of the GOAT.

Of course, that’s also true of Miami’s passionate fans, and sometimes, when that passion spills over, Cheuko will need to come in to ensure that Lionel Messi remains safe and unharmed.

Yassine Cheuko Quick Facts

NameYassine Cheuko
Age34 years old
Date of Birth1989, no exact date
Place of BirthCalifornia, USA
Weight81 kg
Reach74 in
Net Worth$1.5 million
Instagram@yasstcheuko 194K followers

Was Yassine Cheuko a US Navy Seal?

Various reports from several online publications including La Nacion claimed that Yassine Cheuko once served in the U.S. military and is a former Navy Seal.

However, The New York Post wrote that ex-Seal Don Shipley “raised doubts” about Cheuko being one of them. Meanwhile, The Daily Mail UK also said that they interviewed current and former Seals and they claimed to have never heard of Cheuko before. It’s also claimed that Cheuko’s name does not appear in a database of Seal veterans to which they have access.

It’s unclear whether Cheuko himself claimed to be an ex-Navy Seal or if it was a case of media misattribution. But one thing is sure, Yassine Cheuko performs his duties much like an ex-Seal.

Navy Seals are considered one of the most highly trained personnel in the world when it comes to combat and security. Because of their training and experience, ex-Seals make an excellent choice as security personnel for the rich and famous.

Considering Lionel Messi’s stature, it wouldn’t be a surprise if he had such bodyguards. Given Yassine Cheuko’s profile and physical appearance, it was easy to mistake him for an ex-Navy Seal.

Yassine Cheuko Iraq and Afghanistan

Along with the initial report that Yassine Cheuko was a former Navy Seal was the story that he did a tour of duties in Iraq and Afghanistan. Again, there is no truth to this story. But why Iraq and Afghanistan?

It can be recalled that after the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States, the U.S. military began deploying Navy Seals teams to Iraq and Afghanistan to help disrupt and eliminate the Taliban and other terrorist groups and their ability to carry out attacks against the U.S. and its allies. Other Seal teams were utilised in special missions, including the one that led to the death of terrorist leader Osama Bin Laden.

With Navy Seals often linked to missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, it’s likely Yassine Cheuko was linked to the two Middle Eastern countries.

Yassine Cheuko’s MMA career

Sports website Sportskeeda wrote that Yassine Cheuko is a mixed martial artist who has competed in several bouts. However, no record of Cheuko exists in’s fighter database.

Looking at his Instagram page, however, we can see videos of Cheuko training in Mixed Martial Arts, kickboxing, MuayThai, and Jiu Jitsu.

In one of his latest Instagram posts, Cheuko poses after a training session at Bali MMA in Indonesia. In the next video, Cheuko is having a grappling session in France with fighter Salim Choc:

It’s unclear how many fights Cheuko had in Muay Thai or what his record is in actual competition. However, there’s no doubt that he is trained to fight in several disciplines and has legitimate fight experience. Those should be more than enough to protect the greatest football player of all time from a possible threat on and off the pitch.

What is Yassine Cheuko’s job?

Yassine Cheuko is Lionel Messi’s personal bodyguard. He was hired by Inter Miami co-owner and former football superstar David Beckham. Reportedly, Beckham has assigned a team of 50 members led by Cheuko, who work round the clock to ensure the personal safety of the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner, especially during matches.

Part of his job description is to patrol the perimeter of the football field during games where Messi is playing and prevent pitch invaders from getting to the Inter Miami team captain.

Messi shocked the football world when he left Paris Saint-Germain to sign with the MLS team Inter Miami. The Argentinian football legend is expected to make $50 million to $60 million a year in salary, signing bonus, and equity. Last year, he was no. 2 on Forbes’ highest-paid athletes list with a total of $130 million earned.

For an athlete who has made at least $1 billion since 2011, Lionel Messi certainly deserves the best available security to protect him; exactly what Miami has provided with Cheuko.

How much does Yassine Cheuko earn?

It’s unclear how much Inter Miami is paying Yassine Cheuko, with contrasting reports published in the media. The Mirror UK claims that Cheuko’s salary is $250,000 USD per year (~$391,647 AUD) , while claims that Chuekvio makes $3 million per annum.

According to, the average salary of a bodyguard in the United States is $73,016 as of August 27, 2023. Meanwhile, the typical salary range falls between $64,272 and $83,505.

It’s reported that experienced bodyguards and specialists like ex-Navy Seals earn an estimated $150,000 per year plus benefits. Considering those numbers, Inter Miami is paying Yassine Cheuko good money to make sure that Messi and his family are safe and secure while in Miami.

What happened during Inter Miami vs. LAFC?

Yassine Cheuko’s abilities were put to the test last Sunday night when Messi and Inter Miami visited defending MLS champions Los Angeles FC.

Messi recorded two assists to lead his team to a 3-1 upset victory over L.A. But before Messi and co. picked up the road win, a fan entered the pitch and ran towards Messi to embrace his hero. 

But before the fan was able to get to the Argentinian star, Cheuko got to him first and literally pulled him away from the scene. What was even more impressive was the fact that Cheuko got to the intruder first before stadium security even arrived on the scene.

A little football

While Cheuko is renowned for his imposing physical stature and adeptness at preventing overzealous Messi fans from encroaching onto the field, his soccer prowess often takes a backseat.

However, a recent scene captured by sports media personality Fernando Fiore showcased a different side of Cheuko. Following an Inter Miami training session, He shed some light on his unexpected skills beyond his role as a bodyguard. Cheuko was spotted engaging in a casual game of soccer with two other staff members.

In MLS matches, Cheuko’s presence has become somewhat of a fixture, albeit occasionally viewed as intrusive. His steady vigilance over Messi, akin to constant “stalking,” has become a trademark. Cheuko remains tethered to Messi whilst ensuring the World Cup winner is never out of his sight. 

Yassine and Messi fans

On a certain incident

As Lionel Messi prepared to enter the field, a police officer approached him, eager for a selfie. Despite Messi’s good-natured response with laughter and a smile, Yassine Cheuko acted swiftly. Stepping in between Messi and the officer, Cheuko calmly redirected the policeman. He ensured Messi’s concentration remained undisturbed as he geared up for the match ahead. This incident highlighted Cheuko’s commitment to Messi’s focus and security amidst the excitement of fans and admirers.