After waiting eight years to make up for a chance he missed in 2014 in Brazil, Lionel Messi wants Sunday’s final between Argentina and France to be the perfect farewell to his World Cup adventure, and this time he has the support of almost the entire world.
Despite a historic rivalry between Argentina and its neighbors Uruguay and Brazil, fans of the two countries stand behind Messi, according to a survey conducted by the Brazilian Institute for Research and Data Analysis.
According to the poll, one-third of Neymar’s citizens put Argentina as a second choice after their country to win the tournament, which “Selecao” bid farewell to in the quarter-finals at the hands of Croatia, to postpone his dream of a first title since 2002 and the sixth in its history.
For the delivery man Mateus da Silva, the 25-year-old whom AFP met on Flamengo beach in Rio, he is behind the historic opponent: not for them but for Messi, for everything he has done for football. It’s a phenomenon.
Uruguayan sports journalist Luis Prats told AFP that “before, no one wanted” the victory of the Argentines “who are considered arrogant”, but this team looks more modest, more combative. And there is Messi, the icon who is not considered like other stars.
And his colleague Diego Muños, a journalist for the “ASBN” sports channel, considered that “Messi achieves an unparalleled consensus compared to other players,” noting that young Uruguayans wear the Argentine shirt, which is unimaginable for the older generation.
According to an investigation conducted by the Uruguayan media platform “Montevideo Portal”, half of its 6,000 participants (47.5 percent) want an Argentine victory, while less than a third will support France (31 percent).
The matter is no different in Germany. According to a poll conducted by the sports news agency “Sid” in cooperation with “Fan Q”, 63.1 percent considered Messi the best player in the tournament, while only 13.6 percent believed that the award should go to Frenchman Kylian Mbappe, his colleague in Paris. Saint-Germain and his opponent in their match Sunday at Lusail Stadium.
For Leonardo Bini, a 25-year-old native of the Italian capital, who recalls the historical ties between the Italians and the Argentines, “(Messi’s) victory will give the Argentine people the same trophy that Maradona gave them, who may be the only player better than him in history.”
And the “roosters” can count on the support of two-thirds of the Dutch, according to a survey.
This support comes out of pure hatred for the Argentines after the Dutch lost to Messi and his companions in the quarter-finals of the World Cup during a meeting that ended with altercations and violent attitudes from the Argentines, especially Messi against the Dutch players and their coach Louis van Gaal.
The head of an association of fans of the orange national team, Henk Van Beek (52 years), spoke of a “preference” that the Argentines had benefited from “since the start of the tournament” and their “arrogant behaviour”.
He pointed out that the Dutch hope coach Didier Deschamps’ team will succeed in inflicting a painful defeat on Argentina.