‘I don’t like what I did’: Lionel Messi admits he regrets taunting Louis van Gaal in tense World Cup quarter-final clash with Holland and reveals he ‘didn’t know if it was the real trophy or not’ after celebrating World Cup win over France
Lionel Messi has revealed that he regrets his actions towards Louis van Gaal in the World Cup, and that he did not know whether he was given the real World Cup trophy or a replica to celebrate with after Argentina’s seismic victory over France.
The Albiceleste skipper lifted the trophy in December at the head of his side and admitted that ‘there was a mess’ with the iconic award, after a tense quarter-final win over Van Gaal’s Holland en route to the final.
Messi’s return from World Cup duty has seen him linked with numerous Saudi Arabian clubs, all hopeful to snap up the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner at the end of his contract as PSG – who are in the middle of a vice-captaincy controversy
Lionel Messi admitted that he regrets his taunts aimed at Louis van Gaal during the World Cup
Juan Roman Riquelme, who also did the celebration, had a poor relationship with Van Gaal
Messi was the player of the tournament, having become the first player to score a goal in every round of the competition, since the introduction of the round of 16.
One of those came against Holland in the quarter-finals, which sparked a moment of controversy as the Argentine talisman taunted Dutch boss Louis van Gaal with compatriot Juan Roman Riquelme’s infamous Topo Gigio celebration.
The pose was thought to be a dig aimed at the ex-Barcelona and Manchester United manager – who infamously had a poor relationship with his former player Riquelme.
Van Gaal and Messi were then spotted in what appeared to be a tense touchline exchange after the final whistle, in which the Argentine allegedly told the manager: ‘You talk too much.’
Messi was also seen in an angry exchange with the Dutch boss following the quarter-final clash
After the game he also told reporters: ‘I feel disrespected by Van Gaal after his pre-game comments and some Dutch players spoke too much during the game.’
But the PSG star has now admitted that he harbours some regret for his actions, telling Argentine journalist Andy Kuznetsoff.: ‘The truth is that I hadn’t thought about it. He came out at the moment and yes, he knew what he had commented before the game, what he had commented.
‘Some of my classmates told me ‘you saw what he said’ on purpose. We got 2-0 and then at the moment, I don’t like what I did, what happened later with the “go over there”.
The 35-year-old admitted that his actions were not pre-meditated but happened in the heat of the moment
‘These are moments of great tension, a lot of nervousness, 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, I don’t like to leave that image.’
After Argentina beat France on penalties following a 3-3 draw – with Messi scoring twice – the victorious side embarked on a prolonged period of celebrations posing with the iconic trophy.
However, Messi revealed that none of the side knew whether the cup they were holding was indeed the legitimate World Cup, or if it was merely a replica.
The Albiceleste skipper also claimed he was not sure if the trophy he celebrated with was a replica
‘I don’t know why there was a mess with the Cup. I raised the good one and later in the celebrations there was half a mess.
‘We didn’t know if it was the real one or not, but he had already been the first with my companions. It’s heavy.’
The 35-year-old added: ‘I saw it there and I couldn’t not do what I did. Because she called me, the Cup called me. She’s done, come grab me now I can touch her.
‘Did you see that they say that if you don’t win you can’t touch it, look at it. I saw her there, shining, startling in that beautiful stadium, and I didn’t think about it.
‘I went to kiss her because I passed by her. Obviously she will always be there. But it is a very big consolation after having passed so close before.’