Lionel Messi: Destiny – new documentary about Argentina’s World Cup victory

By Ciaran VarleyBBC Sport

4 hours ago

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Lionel Messi: Destiny Documentary Trailer

Watch Lionel Messi: Destiny on Saturday 3 June at 22:20 GMT on BBC One and BBC iPlayer

A new BBC documentary tells the inside story of how the great Lionel Messi eventually won the World Cup.

In an hour-long film, the BBC looks at this success with contributions from some of those involved – including player Emiliano Martinez, Alexis Mac Allister and Julian Alvarez and manager Lionel Scaloni.

Here are a few takeaways…

The loss to Saudi Arabia was followed by a sleepless night

Argentina entered the tournament as one of the favorites, going 36 games unbeaten.

But their confidence was shaken when they lost their opening Group C game 2-1 to Saudi Arabia in one of the biggest World Cup upsets of all time.

“It was the hardest night of my life – I couldn’t sleep,” recalled goalkeeper Martinez. “I was scared of getting eliminated at my first World Cup.”

The 30-year-old Aston Villa player likens the game to a boxing match where one person falls unconscious. “We couldn’t defend ourselves,” he says.

Mac Allister played ‘like he was in his garden’

The 24-year-old has blossomed alongside Messi, Enzo Fernandez and Angel di Maria.

“He’s a complete midfielder,” says former Argentina right-back Pablo Zabaleta.

Scaloni also praises Mac Allister: “He showed us something we didn’t know about him – he doesn’t feel any pressure.”

“It’s like he’s playing in his garden.”

Argentina’s players felt at home in Qatar

Scaloni did a great job of creating the right atmosphere for their players in Qatar – including incorporating some home comforts.

It was reported at the time that the force had flown in 2,000 pounds (900 kg) of meat from South America.

“Everything was perfect,” says Mac Allister. “It felt like home. We played cards and drank.” [caffeine rich] Mate tea… and there was even Argentinian meat!”

Zabaleta says these three things are “like a religion” for Argentines.

Against the Netherlands, Messi became the ‘bad boy’.

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Highlights Netherlands 2-2 Argentina

Argentina came through a particularly heated quarter-final which saw 18 yellow cards – two of which resulted in the dismissal of Dutch defender Denzel Dumfries.

Argentina’s players taunted their opponents after the final whistle, with Martinez – who saved two penalties in a 2-2 draw – yelling at Dutch coach Louis van Gaal.

“I heard Van Gaal say they have the advantage in the penalty shoot-out,” he said after the game. “I think he needs to shut up.”

Even the typically mild-mannered Messi contradicted a comment by Van Gaal, who said the Argentina captain “didn’t put up with much” when his team lost the ball.

When Messi scored during regulation time, he ran straight to the Dutch bench and covered his ears.

This celebration, as the film explains, was inspired by his former teammate Juan Roman Riquelme, who felt mistreated by Van Gaal in Barcelona.

But many were surprised by this new side of Messi.

“We’re more aggressive than the national team he had before,” says Martinez. “He probably became a bit more like us – that bad boy.”

Martinez is like ‘a kid on the court’

Martinez was Argentina’s penalty shootout hero again in the final as La Albiceleste defeated the defending champions.

His antics drew a lot of attention as he threw the ball away, danced and cheered in front of the French players.

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How Martinez’s antics helped Argentina win the shootout

Referring to the exercise he did after Aurelien Tchouameni missed France’s third penalty, he says: “I never danced like I did after the second penalty they missed. Never in my life.”

“It’s me. I’m a kid on the court. I don’t see what’s going to happen next.”


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