Social media went wild for Lionel Messi’s role in making Josko Gvardiol look extremely ordinary for Argentina’s third goal against Croatia on Tuesday night. Messi has been the centre of attention throughout the World Cup with big pressure on his shoulders to deliver for his country on the biggest stage.
The World Cup remains the only major trophy Messi has been unable to get his hands on in his illustrious career. But the 2022 World Cup has seen Messi put on some magical displays and the best of the lot arguably came against Croatia in their semi-final.
Messi gave his country the lead from the spot after Julian Alvarez was fouled inside the box before the Manchester City forward doubled Argentina’s lead. The best of the lot though came in the second half when Messi picked up the ball and went on a solo mission.
Messi picked up the ball at the halfway line down the right wing and began running away frmo Gvardiol, who wouldn’t let the Paris Saint-Germain star go freely. The 35-year-old repeatedly looked up to see where his team-mates were, but nobody was up in the box yet.
Messi then used his experience and sheer class to school Gvardiol, who’s earned high praise for his displays at just 20 years of age. The Argentine superstar slowed the ball down and showed his quick turn of feet to brush past Gvardiol like he wasn’t even there, running along the touchline before laying it on a plate for Alvarez to finish.
The Argentina fans went crazy inside the stadium and social media was awash with superlatives for Messi’s magic.
@BlueWolf_09 tweeted: “My GOAT just destroyed the defender of the tournament. Respect greatness.”
@aritrabvb1909 wrote: “Messi just made a mockery of arguably the best defender of the tournament.”