Gvardiol Explains Why Facing Messi Is Harder When He’s at Argentina

Gvardiol Explains Why Facing Messi Is Harder When He’s at Argentina

Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe
updated at April 12, 2023 at 8:22 PM
In this article:
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FIFA World Cup
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  • Croatia's Josko Gvardiol emerged as one of the revelations of the 2022 FIFA World Cup
  • Gvardiol, who attracted Premier League interest, had a nightmare facing Lionel Messi
  • The 20-year-old defender believes there is a difference between Messi for his country

Josko Gvardiol has explained why facing Lionel Messi is more difficult when he is playing for Argentina.

The Croatian defender impressed at the 2022 World Cup, helping the European nation finish on the podium in back-to-back Mundials.

Despite his inch-perfect performance throughout the competition, the 20-year-old defender was reduced to rubble when he came face to face with Messi.

Josko Gvardiol, PSG, Messi, Argentina, Croatia, semifinals
Josko Gvardiol had a moment to forget when he was sent to the cleaners by Lionel Messi during Croatia's World Cup semi-final clash with Argentina. Photo credit: @goal
Source: Twitter

Gvardiol, who had not put a foot wrong during the competition, was left in tatters as Messi got the better of the Croat before producing a jaw-dropping assist, Givemesport reports.

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Reflecting on his encounter with Messi, the Leipzig defender revealed facing the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner for his country is an altogether different challenge.

“It was harder to defend against him than it was in our game against Paris [Saint-Germain]. It's completely different - he has a completely different profile in the club than in the national team," he told German outlet BILD.

Gvardiol believes Messi was highly motivated, in his possibly last chance to earn accolades at a national level.

"For me, he's the best player I've had to defend against so far. He's small, and all you can do is foul or tackle him.”

Messi destroys Gvardiol

Argentina captain Messi produced an incredible assist in his side's 3-0 defeat of Croatia during the 2022 World Cup.

The 35-year-old captain opened the scoring in the 34th minute with a powerful finish from the penalty spot.

Julian Alvarez made it 2-0 for La Albiceleste after he completed a direct solo run through the heart of the Croatia defence, before tapping home to double Argentina's lead.

Gvardiol makes Messi admission

Sports Brief earlier reported that Croatia defender Gvardiol has broken his silence after his semi-final encounter with Messi.

Touted as one of the outstanding defenders of the 2022 World Cup, Gvardiol's impressive campaign was put to test when Croatia and Argentina crossed paths for a spot in the finals.

The 20-year-old defender, who has appeared on the radar of Chelsea, was rendered powerless by the mesmeric dribbling skillset of Messi, who literally took Gvardiol to the cleaners.

Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe photo
Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe
Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe is a Ligue 1, Bundesliga, and La Liga editor with five-year experience. He previously worked with Sports Corna and 360SportsGH.