The Argentina and Croatia semi-final was a staunch reminder to every football fan about what football really is. What the Argentine team did to Croatia was a dismantling, one that put Argentina as, by far, the favorites for this World Cup.
Julian Alvarez, who earned the penalty before scoring a brace, was outstanding against the Modric-led team, as were Cristian Romero, Nicolas Otamendi, and Nahuel Molina.
But the star of the show was #10, Lionel Messi.
Messi looked like he had enough of the GOAT debate once and for all, and he looked to settle the matter right there. It’s fair to say his objective looked like it was completed after laying Josko Gvardiol – one of the World Cup’s star players this winter – for dead before setting up Alvarez.
They talk about “levels,” and the young center back learned what they mean when he faced Leo.
Gvardiol established himself as the top young left-sided defender in the world throughout the group stages and also against Japan in the round of 16. He was outstanding against Brazil in the quarterfinals; Croatia’s president, Zoran Milanovic, called him “a miracle.”
Then came the turning point, which Gvardiol might never forget. When Gvardiol attempted to take the ball off of Messi while he was near the touchline, he did so with the bravery of a Balkan soldier.
However, Messi dropped a shoulder, swept the ball away, and dashed down the line – with a speed that was unprecedented.
Gvardiol, despite only being 20, could not keep up with the ghost of Lionel Messi. All he could think about was where his shadow had disappeared, and by the time he was able to get his bearings, Messi had already sent the ball to Alvarez for the goal.
One fan, who like everyone else started recording as soon as Messi got the ball, caught this incredible footage of the destruction.
The reactions to this were exactly as spectacular as the assist.
Halved his market value
One of the funniest ones was where Chelsea fans thanked Messi for lowering the transfer price for Gvardiol, as they look to buy him in the summer.
Defended well but still got beat
Another group of people were saying how despite the fact that he was made to look so easy to beat, he did absolutely nothing wrong and is still one of the best defenders out there.
35 v 20
Others just couldn’t fathom how incredibly good Messi still is at the age of 35. It’s like he’s still in his absolute prime.
Whatever the outcome of the World Cup may be, it is abundantly clear that Messi has, once again, made an incredibly strong case for being called the undisputed greatest player of all time.