Lionel Messi Admits He Regrets His Reaction Towards Louis Van Gaal During Their 2022 FIFA World Cup Match

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May 8, 2023
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Lionel Messi has admitted that he rejected his controversial World Cup celebration directed towards the Netherlands head coach, Louis Van Gaal.

The former FC Barcelona captain enjoyed a rollercoaster campaign during the most popular International tournament, where he was crowned the world champion.

However, it was Lionel Messi's goal celebration directed at Dutchman Louis Van Gaal that has remained one of the most unforgettable events during the tournament.

The Argentina game against the Netherlands was extremely serious. Before the match, Van Gaal had made significant comments about Messi's style of play and his attitude off the ball.

This appeared to power the former PSG player's performance as he assisted a goal and scored a penalty, celebrating by covering his ears with his hands, a gesture he later confessed to be unnecessary.

Speaking to reporters in a recent interview, Lionel Messi disclosed that he regretted his goal celebration directed at Louis Van Gaal.

He said; "I came up with the 'Topo Gigio' (named in honor of a cartoon character, a goal celebration in which a player puts his hands to his ears as a sign of defying someone) right there and I automatically regretted it".

He further added; "As soon as I did it I thought, What an idiot. They can still tie it, these things usually happen".


Lionel Messi is arguably the greatest football player in the history of the beautiful game and marked it up with a successful campaign at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

It was the only trophy that the Barcelona legend hadn't won, but Qatar was an extraordinary story.

Argentina World Cup journey in brief

Argentina started their campaign with a 1-2 loss against Saudi Arabia, which quieted their fans.

They began the tournament as favourites but the setback dented their confidence.

An intelligent Lionel Messi launched their comeback in the next game with a 2-0 victory against Mexico.

The former Barcelona player scored a screamer in the 64th minute of play, followed by an outstanding first World Cup goal for Enzo Fernandez.

Messi missed a penalty against Poland in their final group stage match, but goals from Alexis Mac Allister and Julian Alvarez assisted Argentina in securing a 2-0 victory.

They finished on top of their group and confronted Australia in the Round of 16. In the Round of 16, Messi once again bagged a goal as Argentina won 2-1.

They next met the Netherlands and it arose to be a hectic clash. The pre-match interview was also aggressive especially after Dutch manager Louis Van Gaal criticised Messi.

A sharp Messi assist saw Nahuel Molina make it 1-0 in 35 minutes during the first half.

Then, the 36-year-old converted a spot kick in the 73rd minute to make it 2-0. After his goal, Messi came rushing to the Dutch stand and did an iconic celebration, where he covered his ears with his hands.

But the Dutch had other plans as Wout Weghorst came to the delivery with two late goals in the 83rd minute of play and the 11th minute of stoppage time. Both sides failed to score in extra-time and then the CONMEBOL side won 4-3 on penalties.

Argentina sailed past Croatia in a semi-final match in which they won 3-0. Messi scored a 34th-minute goal and also registered a world-class assist for Julian Alvarez, who bagged a brace in the 39th and 69th minutes respectively.

Argentina faced France in the final in Lusail. Initially, it looked like Argentina was rimming towards a susceptible victory after first-half goals from Angel Di Maria and Lionel Messi.

But Kylian Mbappe had other plans and came to France's salvation, scoring two goals in the 80th and 81st-minute.

With the match reaching extra time, it looked like Argentina found the winner in the 108th minute through Messi.

But Kylian Mbappe equalized in the 118th minute making it 3-3. Emiliano Martinez made a last-minute save in extra time to take the game into penalties.

In the shootout, Martinez reigned supreme and denied Kingsley Coman and Aurelien Tchouameni as Argentina snatched a 4-2 victory.

Soon after, Lionel Messi was designed with a bisht garment as he lifted the World Cup trophy in a fashionable style.