Louis van Gaal Made Shock Claim Involving Lionel Messi and 2022 World Cup

Louis van Gaal Made Shock Claim Involving Lionel Messi and 2022 World Cup

 

Louis van Gaal and Lionel Messi

Louis van Gaal is no stranger to controversy, but the larger-than-life Dutchman caused eyebrows to rise even higher than usual with shock accusations involving Argentina, Lionel Messi, and the 2022 World Cup finals.

Van Gaal was in charge of the Netherlands during the showpiece international tournament in Qatar but was unable to prevent his side losing on penalties to the eventual champions. In one of the most enthralling games of the competition, Argentina were on course to advance to the semi-finals thanks to goals either side of half-time from Nahuel Molina and Messi.

However, a dramatic late brace by Wout Weghorst (who would later fail to score a single Premier League goal in 17 appearances for Van Gaal’s former employers Manchester United) sent the quarter-final tie to extra-time. No further goals were scored in the 30 minutes of additional time and so the match was eventually settled on penalties.

It was Argentina who eventually prevailed, winning the shootout 4-3, with Lautaro Martinez scoring the winning spot-kick for the South American nation. However, Argentina’s players were heavily criticised for their behaviour during penalties. It later transpired that members of the Netherlands team were equally guilty when it came to antagonising their opponents.

Argentina and Netherlands players at the 2022 World Cup

Messi Was Unhappy With Van Gaal

Argentine made his feelings clear during the match

Meanwhile, a fired-up Messi celebrated his goal directly in front of Van Gaal, cupping his hands to his ears while looking directly at the veteran Dutch coach. The eight-time Ballon d’Or winner was unhappy with comments that Van Gaal made in the build-up to the game and used them as fuel for his Man of the Match performance.

Lionel Messi cups ears towards Louis van Gaal

Messi also went viral for interrupting his post-match interview and saying to Weghorst, whose eyes were fixed on the legendary forward inside the tunnel: “What are you looking at, bozo?”. United as a group, Argentina’s victory over the Netherlands proved a pivotal moment in their quest to become world champions for the first time since 1986.

Van Gaal stepped down as Netherlands head coach immediately after the quarter-final tie in Lusail. At the end of his third and final stint as manager of the Oranje, the former Barcelona and ManUnited boss was replaced by Ronald Koeman.

Louis van Gaal during Netherlands vs Argentina at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar

Van Gaal’s Claim About Argentina, Messi and 2022 World Cup

Dutchman believes it was a ‘preconceived’ game

Nine months after losing to Argentina, Van Gaal made some outlandish comments about that match, suggesting the tournament was designed for Messi to become a world champion. Describing the game as “preconceived”, Van Gaal appeared to be suggesting that the fixture was rigged to suit Argentina and their iconic No. 10.

Speaking in September 2023, Van Gaal was quoted by Dutch outlet NOS as saying: “I don’t really want to say much about it. If you see how Argentina gets the goals and how we get the goals and how some of Argentina’s players crossed the line and weren’t punished, then I think it’s all preconceived game.” Asked exactly what he meant by that, Van Gaal added:

“I mean everything I say by that. That Messi had to become world champion? I think so, yes.”

It’s clear that Van Gaal believes Messi and his Argentina teammates had an unfair advantage on that night at the Lusail Stadium in December 2022. Needless to say, there’s currently no evidence to back up Van Gaal’s conspiracy theory.

Van Gaal, who turns 73 in August, has never been afraid to voice his opinions – regardless of how outrageous they might be. However, his comments regarding Argentina, Messi and the 2022 World Cup were always likely to spark a backlash – particularly from all those associated with the reigning world champions.

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