Louis van Gaal Says 2022 FIFA World Cup Was Rigged in Lionel Messi’s Favour

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Last Updated: September 05, 2023, 18:20 IST

Louis van Gaal and Lionel Messi at the 2022 FIFA World Cup (X)

Louis van Gaal and Lionel Messi at the 2022 FIFA World Cup (X)

Louis van Gaal claimed that the FIFA World Cup in 2022 was rigged in favour of Lionel Messi’s Argentina.

Former Netherlands manager Louis van Gaal’s latest comments have turned controversial after he claimed that the 2022 FIFA World Cup was rigged in favour of Lionel Messi’s Argentina.

Messi finally lifted the trophy in his fifth and possibly final FIFA World Cup tournament, having lost in the 2014 final to Germany.

Van Gaal, who was in charge of the Dutch side, who were knocked out from the 2022 World Cup in Qatar by Argentina on penalties in the quarter-finals.

Speaking speaking at the Eredivisie Awards 2022/23 gala, Van Gaal said: “I don’t really want to say much about it. When you see how Argentina gets the goals and how we get the goals, and how some Argentina players overstepped the mark and were not punished, then I think it was a premeditated game.”

When asked to explain his comments, Van Gaal clarified: “I mean everything I say.”

Proded again to answer, Van Gaal said that Messi had to win the tournament at all costs, Van Gaal said: “I think so.”

Messi became the first Argentina captain since Diego Maradona in 1986 to lift the World Cup.

Many people expected Messi to retire, at least from international duty, after the Qatar triumph but the star footballer, who is currently playing for US side Inter Miami is slated to continue playing and can take the field with his teammates as world champions. However, Messi has admitted that the end was close after a glory-laden career that saw him also win four Champions League titles and 10 La Liga crowns with Barcelona, and a Ligue 1 trophy with Paris Saint-Germain, as well as the Ballon d’Or a record seven times.

Given that the next edition of the FIFA World Cup will be held in the United States, Canada and Mexico, in 2026, Messi may just give his retirement plans a second thought.

“I have said several times before that I don’t think so, that that (2022) was my last World Cup,” he had ealirer said.

“I will see how things go but in theory I don’t think I will be around for the next World Cup,” he had added.

Irrespective if Messi plays another World Cup or not, he will surely be considered as the ‘Greatest of All Time’.

In the individual category, Lionel Messi has won seven Ballon d’Or awards, the most by any footballer in the history of the game. His other accolades include two FIFA The Best Awards, six European Golden Shoes, two World Cup Golden Balls and many more.

Ritayan BasuRitayan Basu, Senior Sub-Editor, Sports at News18.com, covers badminton and cricket but football remains his forte. Follow him at @ritayanbasu…Read More

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