Tonight's game between Argentina and Croatia was the Lionel Messi show. It may have been a World Cup semi-final, but it's difficult not to come away from the match thinking mainly about the performance of the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner.
He was absolutely sublime right form the first whistle. Not only would he get a goal from the penalty spot, but his assist for his team's third on the night was out of this world.
— Balls.ie (@ballsdotie) December 13, 2022
He will now prepare for the World Cup final on this weekend, where a victory would surely bring to an end any lingering debate's about his status as the greatest player of all-time.
Roy Keane laughed off Lionel Messi comparison on ITV
Roy Keane is a man who appreciates greatness and he was blown away by Lionel Messi's performance tonight.
He said it was a pleasure to watch him live, hinting that he was operating on a completely different level to anyone else that has played the game.
ITV presenter Mark Pougatch pushed back on that remark, asking if Messi really performed to level that was so much higher than that of Keane and fellow pundits Gary Neville and Ian Wright.
The Cork man could only laugh off the question.
Keane: It's a pleasure to watch him live, it really is. We played to a really good level, but the level he's at at his age, he's doing it against some really good players. Honestly, he's brilliant, absolutely fantastic. What a player. You know what, I really hope he goes on to win the World Cup. That would be the icing on the cake for the man, he's fantastic...
I feel privileged to be watching him.
Pougatch: You're being very modest there. You guys won everything and played for your countries at the highest level. Are you saying that he played at a discernibly different level to you?
Keane: Yeah! Is that a trick question? Listen, I was slightly better than the two lads here.
Pougatch: I have to ask you that, because you are being modest.
Keane: When you see him live and what he's doing against really good players, we have seen it for years. Sometimes you need a reminder. What we saw tonight, he's a genius.
Pougatch: I just wanted Roy to be honest.
Keane: In saying that, I'd say he has never jumped over a bin!
Roy Keane was perhaps the greatest midfielder of his generation, but he will be the first one to admit that what Lionel Messi has done and is still doing is on a completely different stratosphere.
However, as he points out, you'd do well to see the Argentine star jump over a bin in such a graceful fashion as we saw from the Irishman last week.
A day off for the @ITVSport team today in Doha so of course we played football 😅
So enjoy this glorious moment as Roy Keane scores the golden goal against none other than special guest @MicahRichards 🙌
Fancy a rematch @BBCSport? 👀 pic.twitter.com/zEwqt3sX5i
— ITV Football (@itvfootball) December 7, 2022
Lionel Messi will do well to match that one in the final this weekend.