Emi Martinez says Lionel Messi became an Argentina 'bad boy' at 2022 World Cup & 'completed football' by finally winning elusive trophy

Lionel Messi Getty Images
  • Messi triumphed at the 2022 World Cup
  • Martinez highlights Messi's change in character
  • Believes Messi 'completed football' with World Cup win

WHAT HAPPENED? Martinez shed light on Messi's transformation during the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. While the Argentina skipper had already established his genius on the field, his character changed significantly during the tournament. Martinez pointed out that Argentina's style of play is more aggressive than the teams Messi had previously played with, which seems to have influenced his demeanour. During the tournament, tensions rose between Messi and Dutch manager Louis van Gaal, who had criticised his work rate off the ball. In response, Messi celebrated a goal by mocking Van Gaal's comments, further fueling the rivalry between the two. Additionally, Messi confronted Dutch assistant Edgar Davids on the sidelines and directed an insult at Wout Weghorst in the tunnel after the match.

WHAT THEY SAID: "This World Cup he was different. We are probably more aggressive than the players in the national teams he's played with before. So he's probably becoming a little more like us - that bad boy," Martinez stated to the BBC.

THE BIGGER PICTURE: The World Cup victory represented the final piece of silverware in Messi's illustrious career, solidifying his status as one of the greatest players in football history. Martinez believes that after winning the World Cup, Messi has completed football by accomplishing his ultimate goal.

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"I think after this World Cup - he completed football," Martinez added.


messi world cup(C)Getty ImagesEmiliano Martinez Lionel Messi Argentina 2022 World CupGetty

WHAT NEXT? Following his victorious World Cup campaign, Messi will look to help Argentina defend their Copa America title, where the Paris Saint-Germain forward will once again play a central role in their quest for glory in 2024.