‘Lionel Messi is scary’ - Man Utd-linked Jurrien Timber on facing ‘incredible’ Argentina captain at the World Cup for the Netherlands
- Oranje faced tough test in Qatar
- Albiceleste prevailed on penalties
- Went on to lift the trophy
WHAT HAPPENED? The 21-year-old Ajax star lined up against Argentina in Qatar with a place in the semi-finals of FIFA’s flagship event up for grabs. Messi put on another masterclass in that contest, converting a penalty in normal time before holding his nerve in a shootout to help the Albiceleste remain on course for ultimate glory in the Middle East. Timber was among those charged with the task of trying to contain the obvious threat posed by the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner, with the young centre-half facing one of the biggest tests in his career to date.
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WHAT THEY SAID: Timber has told Ziggo Sport: “Facing Messi in the World Cup? Messi is scary. He receives a bad pass, so you decide to jump to try to take it away from him, put him under pressure immediately, but he's able to kill a bad pass with one touch. In a split second, the ball is under his foot in his total control. It's unbelievable.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Messi enhanced his legacy by inspiring Argentina to glory at Qatar 2022, but is now facing questions of his future at club level as he runs his contract at Paris Saint-Germain down towards free agency.
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WHAT NEXT? Timber is also generating transfer talk heading towards the summer, with the Netherlands international said to be another of those that former Ajax boss Erik ten Hag wants to work with again at Manchester United.