Messi who was scolded for “selling his soul to the devil” “Did you promote Saudi Arabia for this?”

Messi who was scolded for “selling his soul to the devil” “Did you promote Saudi Arabia for this?”
Messi who was scolded for “selling his soul to the devil” “Did you promote Saudi Arabia for this?”

▲ Lionel Messi, who leads the Argentina national team, covers his face with both hands as he misses an opportunity during the 2022 Qatar World Cup group C match against Saudi Arabia held at Lusail Stadium on the 22nd (local time).
Rusail AP Yonhap News

Lionel Messi (36, Paris Saint-Germain), who was waiting for the ‘last dance’ on the World Cup stage, worked as a tourism ambassador for Saudi Arabia last May. At the time, not a few fans who cared for him poured out embarrassing criticism. It is said that it contributes to the so-called ‘whitewashing’, which grants impunity to the Saudi government’s crimes that do not hesitate to oppress women and human rights and the mistakes of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who assassinated American journalist Jamal Khashoggi with the power of ‘oil money’ on his back. It was criticism. He even had to hear the claim that he “sold his soul to the devil.”

It was a shocking defeat to come back to such Messi. The Argentine soccer team, led by Messi, suffered a 1-2 come-from-behind defeat to Saudi Arabia in the first leg of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar Group C group stage held at Lusail Iconic Stadium on the 22nd. Messi scored the opening goal with a penalty kick, but eventually fell victim to the first upset of the tournament. In particular, Argentina suffered the humiliation of being undefeated in 36 matches in a row.

Of course, Argentina’s share of the game was close to 70% and they also attempted 15 shots. On the other hand, Saudi Arabia had only three shots. Argentina outperformed its opponents in most indicators, including pass success rate, dribble penetration success, and number of air possessions.

But the effective side was Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia locked it well after conceding a penalty kick to Messi in the 10th minute of the first half. In the 3rd and 8th minutes of the second half, counterattacks opened the opponent’s net.

When such a cataclysmic event occurred, the emotions of the fans were naturally connected to sympathy and regret for Messi, who continued the ‘World Cup bad relationship’. However, at the same time, there were not a few people who made fun of Messi, who took the lead in promoting tourism by visiting Saudi Arabia half a year ago and meeting royal officials. At the time, fans who were disappointed with Messi’s behavior, as if he hadn’t seen the Saudis’ defeat, scorned that he sold himself to make ‘bloody money’.

One fan sarcastically said, “Messi seems to be taking the PR deal with Saudi Arabia too seriously.” Another fan pointed out that “Messi doubled back the contract he signed with Saudi Arabia.” Negative comments such as “Messi was paid a lot of money to become the face of Saudi Arabia and this is what happened” or “After Messi signed the deal, Argentina became the victim of the most shocking incident in World Cup history.” .

On the other hand, contrary to the speculation that Messi would decline the mixed zone interview with the reporters after the match due to the humiliating shock of defeat, Messi appeared two hours after the game ended and showed a determined appearance sharing questions and answers with the reporters. Regarding the shocking defeat, he said, “It always happens in soccer,” and showed his determination, saying, “I will faithfully prepare for the remaining two group stage games and make it to the round of 16 without fail.”

Senior Reporter Lim Byung-seon

The article is in Korean

Tags: Messi scolded selling soul devil promote Saudi Arabia

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