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Lionel Messi Said, ‘I Will Take….’: Rodrigo De Paul Recalls Argentine Captain’s Promise During 2022 FIFA World Cup

Rodrigo De Paul suffered a grade-one muscle strain during Argentine training two days before their FIFA World Cup 2022 quarterfinal against Netherlands.

Updated: February 9, 2023 10:34 AM IST

By Sports Desk | Edited by Koushik Paul

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Lionel Messi (L) and Rodrigo De Paul won the FIFA World Cup 2022 for Argentina. (Image: Twitter)

New Delhi: Argentina midfielder Rodrigo De Paul revealed what Lionel Messi told him just before Argentina’s quarterfinal clash against Netherlands in the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar after the Atletico Madrid star injured himself during the training.

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In an interview with Fox Sports, the 28-year-old revealed what Messi told him ahead of the big clash. “I went to Messi’s room and he tells me, ‘don’t play, we’re going to get through the quarterfinals.’ It could have been the last game that I played in a World Cup, if in four years I still don’t get called.

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“He told me, ‘I promise I’ll take you to the semi-finals but don’t risk that you’ll most likely be left out’. I didn’t know whether to contradict him. It’s very difficult because he doesn’t tell me as a captain, but as a friend or older brother,” said De Paul.

De Paul suffered a grade-one muscle strain during Argentina’s training session two days before the Netherlands clash, thereby putting his participation in doubt. However, De Paul started the game and was replaced in the 66th minute in order to avoid aggravating the injury.

Lionel Messi scored a goal in that match as Argentina were locked at 2-2 at the end of 120 minutes. Messi’s men won the game 4-3 on penalties there sealing their spot in the semifinals.

Argentina defeated Croatia 3-0 in the semifinals before pulling up a sensational penalty-shootout victory against France in the final to lift the FIFA World Cup for third time. It was Messi’s maiden World Cup and also final appearance at mega showpiece.

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Published Date: February 9, 2023 1:10 AM IST

Updated Date: February 9, 2023 10:34 AM IST