Fans hail Lionel Messi's sensational assist for Argentina's third goal

Fans hail Lionel Messi’s sensational assist for Argentina’s third goal against Croatia… with some joking he ‘wiped £30m off Josko Gvardiol’s market value’ after turning past the Chelsea target THREE times

  • Lionel Messi spun around Josko Gvardiol before assisting Argentina’s third goal 
  • Argentina dominated Croatia, winning 3-0 in the first World Cup semi-final 
  • Fans were quick to hail the Argentine superstar after his footwork in the build-up 
  • Find more of Sportsmail’s latest content from the 2022 Qatar World Cup 
  • Click here for the latest World Cup 2022 news, fixtures, live action and results

Lionel Messi put on a masterclass of attacking flair in the build-up to Argentina’s third goal – and showing up a defensive hero in the process.

Croatia’s Josko Gvardiol – a rumoured target for Premier League side Chelsea – has been hailed as one of the world’s best young defenders, but he was given the run around by the 35-year-old star in the run-up to Argentina’s final goal in a 3-0 win.

Messi stopped the ball in play with his feet, and beat Gvardiol three times in the same darting run on the left-hand side of the field, before beating the 20-year-old Croatian defender to the bye-line and setting up Julian Alvarez for his second of the night, and Argentina’s third, after Messi’s first-half penalty – which Gary Neville claimed was the wrong call – had opened the scoring.

Lionel Messi’s assist was instrumental in setting up Argentina’s third goal against Croatia

Messi spun around Croatia’s highly fancied defender Josko Gvardiol on the way to the goal

Fans were quick to praise Messi’s skill in the set-up of Argentina’s second half goal – and to comment on the knock-on impact it will have on Gvardiol’s club value. 

One fan tweeted: ‘Messi just casually destroyed Gvardiol man goated stuff’, alongside two emojis of the traditional livestock, while another said: ‘Messi lowering Gvardiol asking price. Love to see it’ alongside some laughter emojis.

Another joked that the superstar had wiped ’30m off of Gvardiol’s market value with that move’. 


Fans were quick to hail the Argentine star’s assist, and mock the rumoured value of Gvardiol

The 20-year-old Gvardiol currently plays for Bundesliga side RB Leipzig, who rejected a £75m offer for him in the summer as Chelsea tried to lure the young star to Stamford Bridge. He is currently under contract until 2027. 

Gvardiol’s performances throughout the World Cup have been hailed, but many people will now remember him for the time when he was shown up by one of the world’s all-time greats.

CBC Sports journalist Shireen Ahmed tweeted: ‘Josko Gvardiol has been immense all tournament. But Messi has… always been Messi.’ 

Sports journalist Shireen Ahmed rated Gvardiol’s World Cup until he came up against Messi

Gvardiol plays his club football for RB Leipzig in Germany, and shone through the World Cup

The match was a monumental one for Messi, not just because the result secured their spot in the grand final. The star surpassed Gabriel Batistuta to become Argentina’s top World Cup goalscorer with his 34th minute penalty. 

The PSG star also equalled Lothar Matthaus’s all-time appearances at the World Cup finals, and would expect to break that record in Sunday’s showpiece final against either France or Morocco. 

Meanwhile, Croatia’s time in Qatar is not over, as Gvardiol’s side will face the losers of Wednesday’s second semi-final in the third-place play-off at the Khalifa International Stadium on Saturday.  

Messi beat Gvardiol three times in a run down the left hand side of the Lusail Stadium pitch

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