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Business News/ Sports / Football News/  'What an idiot’: Lionel Messi speaks about World Cup episode with Dutch manager Louis Van Gaal

'What an idiot’: Lionel Messi speaks about World Cup episode with Dutch manager Louis Van Gaal

Lionel Messi's actions and reactions in the FIFA World Cup, particularly towards Dutch manager Louis Van Gaal, have been a topic of discussion.

FILE - Argentina's Lionel Messi gestures at the end of the World Cup quarterfinal soccer match between the Netherlands and Argentina, at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, Qatar, Friday, Dec. 9, 2022. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit, File)

Lionel Messi experienced a rollercoaster of emotions in the FIFA World Cup. His actions and reactions, particularly towards Dutch manager Louis Van Gaal, have been a topic of much discussion.

Argentina's World Cup campaign began with a surprising defeat to Saudi Arabia. It shook the confidence of fans and players alike. However, Messi led the charge in their revival. First, he scored against Mexico and then contributed to the victory over Poland, despite missing a penalty.

Also Read: Lionel Messi to play 2026 World Cup? Argentina football legend says, 'I'm going to as long as...'

The match against the Netherlands was particularly intense. Before the game, Van Gaal had made critical remarks about Messi's style of play and his contributions off the ball. This seemed to fuel Messi's performance as he assisted a goal and scored a penalty, celebrating by covering his ears with his hands - a gesture he later admitted regretting.

Messi's admission came in an ESPN interview, where he reflected on his spontaneous celebration, inspired by 'Topo Gigio', a cartoon character. In the cartoon, a player holds his hands over his ears as a gesture of defiance towards someone. Messi, however, expressed immediate regret.

Also Read: Argentinian football legend Lionel Messi receives Ballon d'Or title for eighth time

“As soon as I did it I thought: 'What an idiot. They can still tie it.' These things usually happen," he said.

Path to glory

Argentina's journey did not stop there. They triumphed over Croatia in the semi-finals, with Messi both scoring and assisting Julian Alvarez. The final against France was a true test of resilience and skill. Argentina initially took the lead with goals from Messi and Angel Di Maria. But, French striker Kylian Mbappe had other plans. His late goals pushed the game into extra time.

Also Read: Lionel Messi dedicates eighth Ballon d'Or to Diego Maradona: ‘This is for you’

Messi found the net again in extra time, but Mbappe equalised, taking the game to a nail-biting penalty shootout. Goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez emerged as a hero, making crucial saves and ensuring Argentina's victory.

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Sounak Mukhopadhyay

Sounak Mukhopadhyay, who also goes by the name Sounak Mukherjee, has been producing digital news since 2012. He's worked for the International Business Times, The Inquisitr, and Moneycontrol in the past. He's also contributed to Free Press Journal and TheRichest with feature articles. He covers news for a wide range of subjects including business, finance, economy, politics and sports. Before working with digital news publications, he worked as a freelance content writer.
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