JOSKO GVARDIOL has admitted that he’s happy he got to play against Lionel Messi… even if he was on the losing side.
GettyLionel Messi bamboozled Josko Gvardiol on Tuesday[/caption]
Messi, 35, put on a masterclass – made most memorable by his sensational assist for his side’s third – twisting and turning Gvardiol before laying the ball off to Julian Alvarez for a tap in.
The moment of magic gathered plenty of attention, but Messi’s 20-year-old victim has taken it in his stride – even labelling his tormentor the GOAT.
Speaking ahead of Saturday’s third place play-off, Gvardiol said: “I am glad that I played against him even though we lost.
“It’s a great experience, and one day I’ll tell my kids that I played against the best player in history. I guess we will beat him next time.”
Despite his embarrassment at the hands of Messi, Gvardiol’s stock remains sky high following a brilliant tournament.
He had already been strongly linked with Chelsea – who are reportedly ahead of Real Madrid in the race to sign him, with Manchester City also interested.
Gvardiol isn’t the only Croatia star to have gushed over Messi.
His team-mate, former Leicester forward Andrej Kramaric, added: “Messi is the greatest player in history.”
After previously unseen footage of Messi’s brilliant assist surfaced online this week, it was claimed that he drew up the entire sequence before he even received the ball.
As per reporter Juan Arango, Messi’s pal and former team-mate Sergio Aguero revealed on Argentine telly just what his pal wanted.
Arango tweeted: “Kun Aguero talked on Arg TV how Messi directs his team-mates to move around so he can receive the ball.
“Short pass to his feet is the secret.”
Twenty four hours after Croatia take on Morocco looking for a second consecutive World Cup podium finish, Messi and his Argentina side will take on France in Sunday’s final.
The 35-year-old is desperate to bring the trophy back to his home country, and could finally put the GOAT debate beyond doubt for good.
GettyGvardiol, 20, is thrilled he got to play against Lionel Messi[/caption]