Lionel Messi has admitted that he felt disrespected by Netherlands manager Louis van Gaal in the build-up to Argentina’s World Cup quarter-final victory.
The match turned into a hot-tempered affair, with numerous on-field brawls throughout the 120 minutes and even after the penalty shoot-out, with referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz dishing out yellow cards left, right and centre.
After winning the shoot-out, a number of Argentina players openly celebrated in front of the Dutch squad, while Messi himself even directed a taunt towards Van Gaal who, in the build-up to the game, accused the Paris Saint-Germain forward of failing to help his team when they don’t have the ball.
“I feel disrespected by Van Gaal after his pre-game comments and some Dutch players spoke too much during the game,” Messi told reporters after the game.
He added: “Van Gaal sells that he plays good football and then he puts forwards in the box and starts throwing long balls. We deserved to go through and that’s what happened.”
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Messi wasn’t the only Argentine to take aim at Van Gaal, with goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez, who saved the Netherlands’ first two penalties, also admitting he felt particularly inspired to get one over on the veteran boss.
“I heard Van Gaal saying ‘we’ve got an advantage on penalties, if we go to penalties we win,'” Martinez said. “I think he needs to keep his mouth shut.”
As for the image of Argentina celebrating in front of the Dutch squad, centre-back Nicolas Otamendi was happy to explain why he chose to taunt his opponents.
“I celebrated in their faces because there was a one Netherlands player, who at every penalty kick we had, was coming and saying things to one of our players,” he confessed. “The picture was taken out of context, and we celebrated in response to it.”