The Lionel Messi-led Argentina went on to win the 2022 FIFA World Cup, beating defending champions France in the final on penalties. In what was Messi’s first World Cup triumph on 5th attempt, the Argentine great drew many plaudits for his performances. But, ahead of the final, Messi was also subjected to criticism for the way he behaved after the quarter-finals clash with the Netherlands. Having behaved miserably with the Dutch boss Louis van Gaal and striker Wout Weghorst, Messi has now admitted that he didn’t like what he did back then.
“I didn’t think about it, it came out in the moment,” Messi said while speaking of the incident involving Weghorst in an interview with the radio show Perros de la calle.
The 7-time Ballon d’Or-winner said that his teammates informed him of what Netherlands boss Van Gaal had said about them. Amid all the tension of the game, Messi ended up losing his cool, but he hadn’t thought of doing such things.
“I did know everything that had been said before the game, what he [Van Gaal] had said. Even some of my teammates were telling me ‘Did you see what he said,’ on purpose.
“And well, when it’s all over, I don’t like what I did, I don’t like the ‘keep moving’ and all that. But well, they are moments of huge tension, and huge nervousness and everything happens very fast.
“One reacts the way one reacts, but nothing was planned. It just happened. I don’t like to leave that image, but these are things that happen,” the superstar footballer asserted.
Further in the interview, Messi also said that he would’ve liked to be handed the World Cup trophy by the late Argentina legend Diego Maradona.
“I would have liked him, if he didn’t hand me the World Cup trophy, to at least see all this,” Messi said. “I think that both he and many people who love me were pushing from above, not only for this but for everything in general”.