Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has waxed lyrical about Argentina captain Lionel Messi after being impressed by his performances at the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The German also provided his thoughts on Emiliano Martinez’s controversial celebrations.
Lionel Messi led Argentina to their first FIFA World Cup triumph in 36 years in Qatar on December 18. La Albiceleste beat a strong French team, which included Liverpool’s Ibrahima Konate, on penalties to be crowned champions.
Argentina’s triumph in the Middle East also saw Messi finally win the trophy that evaded him for most of his career. He did most of the heavy lifting for Lionel Scaloni’s side, scoring seven goals in as many games.
The 35-year-old talisman also provided three assists for his teammates in the tournament. His performances for Argentina saw him being handed the Golden Ball at the end of the competition.
With the dust yet to settle, Klopp has named Messi as the greatest player he has come across in his lifetime. The Liverpool manager also lauded the forward for continuing to play at his best despite being in his mid-30s. He was quoted as saying by The ECHO:
“The greatest footballer in my lifetime, Lionel Messi, the way he plays football in this age should give us all a hint at how long footballers can perform at the top level. We shouldn’t close the books too early. It was a joy to watch him.”
Jurgen Klopp on Argentina:
“Congratulations to them – it was the best final after 80 minutes I have ever seen in my life. I am really happy for them – they have waited a long time. The greatest footballer of my lifetime – Lionel Messi – it was a joy to watch him.”
Klopp, though, refused to be drawn on a question about Martinez’s controversial celebrations after Argentina’s triumph.
“Nothing to say about it [Martinez debate], congratulations for winning the World Cup. It was really well deserved, a tough game and after 80 minutes the best final I ever saw in my life. It was absolutely special.”
“Argentina deserved it and when you saw the team and the country celebrating, then it probably hit the right country in difficult times. I am really happy for them, they waited for a long time.”
Liverpool return to league action while Lionel Messi is on a break
Liverpool faced Manchester City in the EFL Cup Round of 16 last week in what was their first match after the World Cup. Things did not go according to plan for them as they succumbed to a 3-2 defeat at the Etihad Stadium.
The Reds will now look to return to winning ways when they face Aston Villa in the Premier League today, December 26. Meanwhile, Lionel Messi is still in Argentina, celebrating Christmas with his family.
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