Louis van Gaal has claimed that last year’s World Cup in Qatar was rigged in order to help Lionel Messi finally lift the trophy.
Messi, who many consider the greatest footballer of all time, led Argentina to World Cup glory in December 2022, scoring twice in the final to help his country beat France 4-2 on penalties at Lusail Stadium.
The 36-year-old forward defeated the Netherlands, then managed by Van Gaal, in the quarter-final, scoring in normal time before guiding his country to a 4-3 win on penalties.
Van Gaal, who resigned as head coach following the Netherlands’ World Cup exit, believes that the tournament was rigged so that Messi could finally win the trophy that had always eluded him.
When asked to reflect on the World Cup in Qatar, he told Dutch outlet NOS: ‘I don’t really want to say much about it. When you see how Argentina gets the goals and how we get the goals, and how some Argentina players overstepped the mark and were not punished, then I think it all premeditated game.’
Van Gaal was speaking at the Eredivisie Awards on Tuesday, where he was recognised for his contribution to Dutch football.
After journalists asked the 72-year-old to clarify what he meant, the former boss said: ‘I mean everything I say. That Messi should become world champion? I think so, yes.’
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