We generally tend only to remember the best World Cup goals (and bites), but the assist from Messi against Croatia on Tuesday, for Argentina's third goal, will go down as one of his finest ever pieces of play.
The 20-year-old Gvardiol, who had been one of the players of the tournament, was turned inside out as Messi ran free of him and teed up Alvarez for a straightforward finish.
The Croatian defender has now spoken out for the first time following the game, and was surprisingly upbeat about his duel with Messi, labelling it as 'a great experience.'
It was a nice experience even though I played against him in the club last season.
He is a completely different type of player in the club and in the national team.
I am glad that I played against him even though we lost.
It's a great experience, and one day I'll tell my kids that I played against the best player in history. I guess we will beat him next time.
Messi Makes Fool Of Gvardiol With Amazing World Cup Assist
🇦🇷 3-0 🇭🇷
Alvarez gets the goal, but it's the brilliant Lionel Messi who will take all the plaudits. A magical #FIFAWorldCup moment.#ARGCRO
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— RTÉ Soccer (@RTEsoccer) December 13, 2022
READ HERE: Gary Neville Explains Why Messi Is His Player Of The World Cup
Croatia manager Zlatko Dalic was less positive about the game, as he questioned the penalty awarded to Argentina in the first-half, while he confirmed that he will be staying on in his post.
"The first goal as very suspicious, to be honest. First. we had the situation with the corner. Apparently [Croatia should have had] a corner, according to the reaction of our players. Then we had the situation with the penalty... It was a little bit too cheap and easy.
"I will continue. My contract is to 2024, after the European Champions and in six months we have the Nations League and we have World Cup qualifiers. My plan is to take Croatia to Euro 2024."