One of the many highlights of the dramatic World Cup quarter-finals between Argentina and Netherlands was the rarely-seen attitude of football legend Lionel Messi. With one brilliant assist and a goal from the spot, Messi was monumental for Argentina on Friday night at Lusail Stadium.
But fans are remembering another Albaceleste legend after the match. Many fans believe Lionel Messi’s goal celebration is in reference to his former teammate and football legend Juan Román Riquelme.
Possibly an act of revenge towards the Dutch manager Louis van Gaal, who allegedly mistreated Riquelme during his tenure as boss of FC Barcelona.
The 35-year-old jogged in the direction of the Oranje boss before cupping his ears and simply standing there for a few seconds. It was a reenactment of what Riquelme did to Van Gaal in Barcelona.
Van Gaal had suggested ahead of the quarterfinal that Messi did little to help his team when they don’t have the ball — the same thing he told about Riquelme. The 71-year-old football manager is accused of undermining South American players during his time as manager for European clubs.
Even after the match, Messi was furious with the Dutch team and their manager. “Van Gaal says that they play good football, but what he did was put on tall people and hit long balls,” said Messi.
“I feel disrespected by Van Gaal after his pregame comments and some Dutch players spoke too much during the game,” the Argentine captain told reporters.
After the defeat, Van Gaal stepped down as the head coach for the dutch team.