Lionel Messi reaction to Julian Alvarez goal speaks volumes in Argentina vs Croatia clash | Football | Sport
Lionel Messi clearly loved Julian Alvarez’s goal as Argentina took charge of their World Cup clash with Croatia on Tuesday night. The Manchester City star doubled his side’s advantage with a wonderful solo effort in the 39th minute. And they’re now on the verge of reaching the final of the competition as a result.
Argentina had gone into their World Cup showdown with Croatia as strong favourites to make the final of the competition.
And they’ve taken charge of the showdown at the Lusail Stadium, with goals from Messi and Alvarez giving them the perfect start.
Messi opened the scoring in the 34th minute from the penalty spot after Alvarez had been fouled inside the box, blasting his effort into the top right corner.
And his team-mate then netted five minutes later, producing a remarkable solo run before firing past Dominik Livakovic in the Croatia goal.
In the immediate aftermath, Messi was beaming and celebrated with Alvarez – who was also grinning from ear to ear.
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It speaks volumes, with the Paris Saint-Germain star clearly proud of the goal his friend produced – especially with Argentina now on the cusp of the final.
BBC Sport pundit Alan Shearer was full of praise for Alvarez, saying: “Alvarez ran from the halfway line, Messi managed to get the ball to him.
“There were two or three defenders ahead of him, not one of them could get the contact on the ball that they wanted.
“The ball fell to him not once but twice and then he just clips it over the goalkeeper.
“What a run, what a finish.”
Speaking before the game, meanwhile, Argentina boss Lionel Scaloni was asked about Messi and his international future.
At the age of 35, there’s a sense the PSG star can’t go on forever – despite his dazzling performances in the Middle East this winter.
And Scaloni said: “We will see if he decides to continue playing or not and if we can continue enjoying watching him play football.”
ITV pundit Ally McCoist was asked before the game whether Messi would become the greatest of all time ahead of compatriot Diego Maradona if Argentina went all the way.
Yet the Scot insisted that wouldn’t be the case, claiming the duo can’t be compared.
“No, no. Not for me. I think that Maradona just about won one by himself and it’s just impossible to compare them,” he said on talkSPORT.
“The biggest thing is – and I don’t care what anybody says – if anybody has watched the Netflix documentary about Maradona, the tackling is brutal. It’s not just bad or a yellow-card offence, I’m telling you, it’s brutal.
“The ‘Butcher of Bilbao’, Andoni Goikoetxea, should have got six months for snapping his ankle. That was a different era, a completely different era.
“Is Messi one of the most gifted players ever? Absolutely. He’s one of the most gifted footballers that I’ve ever seen.
“But Messi and Maradona are incomparable because they played in a different era. They almost played in a different sport!”