Lionel Messi has revealed that Louis van Gaal made him ‘angry’ prior to the explosive World Cup meeting between Argentina and the Netherlands. The PSG forward celebrated his penalty, which put Argentina 2-0 up, by running towards the dugout and cupping his ears in front of Van Gaal.
It was the Dutchman who had the next laugh, though, as he introduced Wout Weghorst, and the towering forward bagged a brace, including a 101st-minute goal, to take the match to extra time.
Prior to the dramatic finale, both sets of players, substitutes and coaching staff clashed on the pitch as tempers boiled over. The referee issued a mammoth 17 yellow cards over the duration of the match.
But it was something that happened before kick-off that got under the skin of Lionel Messi and co.
“I was angry about the pre-match because I think that a coach like Van Gaal, with the experience he has, with the games he has played throughout his career and that he spoke in the way he did, that he disrespected, I think he should not have been like that, it did not make sense,” Messi explained.
“I feel that he had disrespected the Argentine national team.”
Ahead of the match Van Gaal told Dutch publication NOS that he was planning to take advantage of Messi’s weakness.
“Messi is indeed the most dangerous player who creates the most chances and also makes them himself,” Van Gaal said. “But on the other hand he does not play much with the opponent when he has possession of the ball. That is also where our chances lie.”
Messi had another dig at Van Gaal’s style after the match, saying: “Van Gaal says that they play good football, but what he did was put on tall people and hit long balls.