Weghorst responds to World Cup spat with Messi: ‘At least he has learnt my name!’
- Netherlands lost to Argentina at Qatar 2022
- Emotions threatened to boil over
- Clashes on the pitch and in the tunnel
WHAT HAPPENED? The Netherlands international clashed with Argentina superstar Messi at the end of a fiery quarter-final encounter that saw the Albiceleste prevail on penalties and keep themselves on track for ultimate glory in Qatar. Messi branded Weghorst a “fool” and waved him back towards the dressing rooms during a post-match interview, but the Burnley-owned frontman maintains that he was not trying to be confrontational in the tunnel and wanted to clear the air with a rival that he still holds in the highest regard.
WHAT THEY SAID: Weghorst has told En Son Haber of his heated exchange with Messi, who went on to help Argentina to World Cup glory and himself to a history-making second Golden Ball: “For me, everyone is the same in a match. I fight. That’s what I did in that match. I had some tense moments with Messi in the match and maybe he was surprised. I respect him a lot, he’s one of the best ever. After the game I wanted to show Messi the respect I have for him, but he wasn’t very open to it. Now at least he has learnt my name.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Weghorst said at the time of the incident: “I went to shake his hand after the game. He has not accepted it and has said something rude to me, but I do not understand Spanish very well. I'm very disappointed.”
Former Argentina striker Sergio Aguero delivered a different version of events, saying: “We were just starting to enter the dressing room when this big guy [Weghorst] started to shout ‘hey, hey, Messi.’ Leo turned around to look at him and said what he said. The guy then told him ‘come here and say that.’ So I jumped in there and told him to shut up. I said ‘why are you talking to Messi like that?’ He then said to me ‘don’t tell me to shut up.’ It was a hot moment so I said ‘ok, it’s over. Go away. Shake my hand and good luck’.”
IN THREE PHOTOS:
WHAT NEXT? Weghorst helped to inspire a remarkable comeback from the Netherlands in their meeting with Argentina, as he netted in the 83rd and 101st minutes to force extra time, but his efforts were ultimately in vain as the eventual winners of the entire competition held their nerve in a shootout from 12 yards.