Lionel Messi’s Provocative Goal Celebration Against Netherlands Was For Juan Roman Riquelme

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Lionel Messi’s provocative goal celebration after scoring from the spot to double Argentina’s lead in their quarterfinal clash against the Netherlands was for Juan Roman Riquelme.

The PSG playmaker continued in his fine form with Argentina’s national team in the World Cup, scoring from a penalty spot to double Argentina’s lead in the quarter-final game against the Netherlands.

He also contributed to the first goal, providing an assist for Argentina to take the lead in the first half.

The game later ended in a penalty shootout after Weghorst bagged a late brace to drag the game to a 2-2 draw after regulation and extra time.

Argentina won via a penalty shootout, but Messi generated headlines after he made a provocative goal celebration in the front of the Netherlands’ bench.

His hand-to-ear celebration was inspired by one of the best footballers ever produced by Argentina – Juan Roman Riquelme. Riquelme was said to be Messi’s boyhood hero who often did the same celebration. Riquelme was ousted brutally from Barcelona by none other than Van Gaal himself.

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Louis van Gaal was the manager at Barcelona in 2002. During his time at the helm at Camp Nou, Barcelona signed a top Argentina international, Joan Roman Riquelme.

Lionel Messi
Van Gaal was a Barcelona coach in 2002

Van Gaal failed to get the best out of Riquelme and didn’t seem to rate the South American playmaker as highly as everyone else.

“You’re the best player when you have the ball, but when you don´t we play with one less,” the manager is rumored to have told Riquelme, whom he also dubbed as a “political signing” by the Barcelona board to try and compensate for the departure of Rivaldo.

Van Gaal would deliberately deploy Juan Roman Riquelme out of position to try and send a message to those above him in the Blaugrana hierarchy that they had signed the wrong player and should consult the boss in future.

Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi aimed a provocative goal celebration at Louis Van Gaal in honor of his boyhood Argentinian hero Juan Roman Riquelme

Messi’s adoration of Juan Roman Riquelme has long been well documented, with former Barcelona coach Josep Minguella once recalling how Lionel Messi would come around for a barbecue. “One day, Riquelme, Rochemback, Motta, and some other players arrived at the club’s barbecue, and Messi reportedly sat at the bottom of the table looking at Riquelme as if he was Jesus Christ”, he revealed.

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For Messi, Riquelme was his great idol, he was left-footed and played in the number 10 position in Barcelona’s first team. However, Leo would only look at him because he was very shy. You had to force words out of him.

Lionel Messi
Juan Roman Riquelme

Messi has established himself as not only the world’s best but a leader of men and dons the captain armband for his country. The 35-year-old was hardly shy and reserved when he stood and held his hands to his ears directly in front of the Dutch bench last weekend to remind Van Gaal of his ill-treatment of Juan Roman Riquelme.

Argentina ousted the Netherlands from the competition and will face Croatia in the semifinals of the 2022 World Cup. They are tipped as favorites to win the tournament, with France and Morocco at the other end of the semifinal clash.

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