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SPORTS | 21-12-2022 14:11

Guardiola salutes World Cup winners Álvarez and Messi

Manchester City manager pays tribute to Julián Álvarez and Lionel Messi following Argentina's World Cup triumph.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola on Wednesday paid tribute to Julián Álvarez and Lionel Messi following Argentina's World Cup triumph.

City striker Álvarez was a central figure as Argentina won the World Cup for the first time since 1986, with Sunday's dramatic penalty shoot-out win over France in an outstanding final in Qatar representing the summit of a brilliant career for Messi, who enjoyed club success under Guardiola at Barcelona.

Former City defender Nicolás Otamendi was also a member of Argentina's victorious team, with Guardiola saying Wednesday: "For Julián, we are delighted. He played a lot and his contribution was amazing for the team, for the way they played. We have a world champion in our team.

"We are incredibly happy for him. Congratulations to him, for Nico Otamendi and, of course, personally for Leo Messi, for Argentina as a country, well deserved champions."

Messi's performance cemented his place as one of the greatest players in football history, not that Guardiola, who twice won the Champions League with him at Barcelona, needed any additional proof.

"Everyone has an opinion but nobody can doubt he's there. I've said many times, for me, he's the best," he said. "It is difficult to understand how a player can appear and do what he's done in the last 10-15 years.

"The people who saw Pelé or [Alfredo] Di Stefano, or [Diego] Maradona – they can say their favourites. In these opinions, they can have a sentimental approach.

"If he [Messi)] had not won the World Cup, my opinion about what he has done for world football would not change, but it is normal for people that it depends on if they win.

"For him it is the final achievement of an incredible career."

 

 

– TIMES/AFP

 

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