"He gave me a lot" - France star heaps praise on Lionel Messi ahead of FIFA World Cup final

Argentina skipper Lionel Messi
Argentina skipper Lionel Messi

France national team winger Ousmane Dembele has heaped praise on his former Barcelona teammate Lionel Messi, saying that the Argentina skipper made him 'fall in love' with Barcelona.

The 25-year-old expressed his admiration for Messi ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup final between defending champions France and Argentina.

Speaking to reporters ahead of Sunday's final clash, the Barcelona star hailed Messi as an 'exceptional player'. He also claimed that the Argentine legend helped him fall in love with his current Spanish club.

"He’s an exceptional player, one of those who made me love Barcelona along with Iniesta. I spent four great years with him.''

Dembele said that Messi used to help young players during training sessions in his time at Camp Nou. However, with the ultimate prize as his sole target, the French international said that his team will do everything to contain Messi in the FIFA World Cup final.

“He’s a normal guy in the dressing room. He helps young players. He gave me a lot. He’s difficult to control and we’ll have to do everything we can to make sure he touches the ball as little as possible.”

The 25-year-old also shed some light on his own form at the World Cup. He admitted that there is room for improvement in his performance, but he will do everything to help the team in their title defense.

“I think I can do better offensively, but sometimes the important thing is the team and I don’t think about the numbers. But it’s true that I’m missing a goal.''
16 teams made it through to the knockout stages and just 2 remain...It all comes down to Argentina vs France! 🇦🇷🇫🇷

Dembele has been a constant figure in France's playing 11 throughout the tournament, starting in five of the total six games that the defending champions have played to reach the 2022 FIFA World Cup finals. The only game he was forced to sit out from the start was against Tunisia, in which France suffered a 1-0 defeat.

France's Raphael Varane's interesting records in finals could scare Lionel Messi's Argentina ahead of FIFA World Cup final

Lionel Messi and Argentina need to be wary of Raphael Varane
Lionel Messi and Argentina need to be wary of Raphael Varane

Twitter account Football Tweet put out an interesting stat regarding Manchester United and French national team defender Raphael Varane. He has won 15 of the 17 finals he has played across his trophy-laden professional career, which gives a fantastic 88 percent success ratio.

Raphaël Varane has won 15 of the 17 finals he has played in his career, an 88% success rate. 🏆 His only defeats: Spanish Super Cup 2014 and UEFA Super Cup 2018.#FIFAWorldCup

The 29-year-old former Real Madrid star has been exceptional throughout the tournament. His aforementioned records could leave a psychological impact on Lionel Messi and Argentina ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup final.

Varane has faced Messi numerous times during their time in La Liga. The French national will be using all these experiences to counter the Argentine magician who has driven his national side with aplomb so far.

It will be interesting to see both Raphael Varane and Lionel Messi go against each other for the biggest trophy in the football world.

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Edited by Akshay Saraswat
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