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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Colin Millar

Lionel Messi's angry Louis van Gaal celebration explained after ill-judged comment

Lionel Messi's anger-fuelled goal celebration in front of Netherlands boss Louis van Gaal during their bad-tempered World Cup quarter-final clash has been explained by Juan Riquelme.

Argentina's win against the Netherlands was a memorable encounter, which saw 15 yellow cards brandished by Spanish referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz, in a fiery clash that went to penalties after it finished 2-2 in normal time after Wout Weghorst dramatically equalised late in stoppage time.

Messi was spotted arguing with Dutch manager Van Gaal and his assistant Edgar Davids at full-time, he is then believed to have turned to Dutch double goalscorer Weghorst during an interview and shouted: "What are you looking at fool? Get back there."

Messi played a crucial role in Argentina's win. He set up Nahuel Molina's opener in the first half before converting a penalty after the interval. The 35-year-old celebrated his goal by running in front of the Netherlands boss and cupping his hands to his ears, in front of Van Gaal.

Speaking ahead of the match, Van Gaal said when asked how he planned to stop Messi: "We’re not going to reveal any plans to you - it would be pretty stupid of us to do so.

"But it’s not that difficult to come up with an answer as to how to stop him. You might want to block and close the passing lines. I can’t see this creating too much of a hoo-ha."

Messi and Van Gaal appeared to share strong words at full-time of the quarter final clash (PA)

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Messi, who was named as the Player of the Match, was critical of Van Gaal after the game. Messi told one reporter: "Van Gaal says that they play good football, but what he did was put tall people and hit long balls."

Former Argentina playmaker Riquelme has now explained Messi’s actions, claiming that Van Gaal’s pre-match comments which suggested he knew how to stop the superstar had only acted to anger the Paris Saint-Germain ace.

“I think Van Gaal had said something and he should not have,” Riquelme told TyC Sports. “There are things that cannot happen in football. You cannot make him (Messi) angry. It is preferable to hug him, kiss him, so that he does not want to beat you.

“When the best player in the world gets angry, you don't have a chance to beat him. It is impossible. That's why Van Gaal's words about Argentina were actually very good for them. And on top of that, Messi has an advantage because, when he gets angry, he doesn't get sent off like other players.”

Riquelme added of his relationship with Messi: “He knows that I love him very much, we talk from time to time. I don't bother him much, but we have a very good relationship. I only wrote to him when we lost the first game and when we won the final.

“I always said that as long as Messi plays, Argentina is always going to be the favourite. He wants to compete, he plays football like he would in the street. When he plays, it is wonderful.”

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