·30 January 2023
·30 January 2023
Lionel Messi has given his first interview since winning the World Cup and has admitted that perhaps he wasn’t quite the role model he wanted to be during Argentina’s quarter-final against the Netherlands.
The first controversial Messi moment was after his second goal, when he cupped his ears and stood defiantly looking at Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal. It was a reference to ‘Topo Gigio’, a cartoon mouse that gave Juan Roman Riquelme his nickname.
Riquelme and van Gaal notoriously did not get on while the two were at Barcelona, with the former being forced out by the Dutchman.
Speaking to Andy Kusnetzoff in an interview carried by MD, Messi admitted it wasn’t his finest moment.
“The truth is that no (I didn’t prepare it). I didn’t like it. It came out at the moment and yes, I knew what had been said before the game, what he had said. Some of my teammates told me ‘did you see what he said’ on purpose. We got 2-0 and then at the time, I don’t like what I did, what happened later with the ‘off you go, stupid’ [anda pa’ ‘lla bobo]. These are moments of great tension, a lot of anxiousness, everything happens very quickly and you don’t have time to think about anything. Actually, nothing was planned, it happened like that and as I say, it isn’t an image I like to give off.”
The ‘Que Miras Bobo’ [What are you looking at, Bobo] moment became world-famous. In the mix zone, Messi caught sight of Dutch forward Wout Weghorst and told him in no uncertain terms to keep moving. He returned to that moment too.
“Everything that came out was natural, a lot had happened on the field with that player, in reality and a couple more. At the moment of tension, friction, confrontations, when the game goes like that, the heat with the referee too. I was in the mixed zone and the game had just finished. And well, I know there’s all sorts now.”
Many found Argentina and Messi’s antics disheartening, as well as unsportsmanlike. Messi is correct in saying it is not like him, normally a reasonably composed mind on the pitch. Others enjoyed the visceral version of the veteran and no doubt most of Argentina was amongst that interpretation.
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