"When the best player gets angry, you don't have a chance" - Van Gaal should have 'kissed' Lionel Messi and not upset him, says Riquelme
Argentine legend Juan Roman Riquelme has said that Louis van Gaal made a blunder angering Lionel Messi at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. The former midfielder said that containing an angry Messi is an impossible task.
Then-Netherlands manager Van Gaal took a dig at Messi before his team’s clash with Argentina in the quarterfinals. He said that the Paris Saint-Germain man does not contribute anything off the ball and that he was a mere spectator when Argentina beat the Oranje in 2014 on penalties. Van Gaal added that his team wanted to avenge that loss.
Messi responded to Van Gaal on the pitch, providing an assist, scoring a penalty, and converting his effort in the shootout as Argentina once again downed the Oranje on penalties. La Albiceleste won 4-3 after the game had finished 2-2 after extra time.
In an interview with TyC Sports, Riquelme looked back on Argentina’s win over the Oranje, remarking that Van Gaal was foolish to poke Messi.
"I think Van Gaal had (mentioned Messi before the match). There are things that cannot happen in football. You can't make him angry. It is preferable to hug him, kiss him, so that he does not want to beat you."
“When the best player gets angry, you don't have a chance to beat him. It is impossible. That's why Van Gaal's declaration for Argentina was very good (for us). In addition, Messi has an advantage because, when he gets angry, he doesn't get sent off like other players.”
Messi performed Riquelme’s celebration in front of Van Gaal after converting his 54th-minute penalty. It was his way of paying Van Gaal back for his mistreatment of Riquelme while he was in charge of Barcelona.
Lionel Messi’s assist to Nahuel Molina against Netherlands was one of the best moments of 2022 FIFA World Cup
Lionel Messi, who won the Golden Ball at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, produced a moment of magic against the Netherlands in the 35th minute.
The PSG man claimed the ball on the right flank, dropped his shoulder and made a run toward the centre. While in motion, he spotted Nahuel Molina making a run from the edge of the box and played him through with an inch-perfect pass. The full-back took the ball in his stride and applied a confident finish to give his team the lead.
The finish was excellent, but that pass was a moment of pure genius from Lionel Messi.