The FIFA World Cup 2022 has been touted as a showdown between two of the finest stars in world football — Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi — at present. The two superstar footballers, who are also teammates at the club level, playing for Paris Saint-Germain, are also among the top scorers in Qatar, ahead of the final. While there’s little separating the two, Mbappe feels his France side has the edge over Messi’s Argentina as “football isn’t as advanced in South America”. However, Messi’s teammate Emiliano Martinez isn’t quite happy hearing such comments from the French forward.
“He doesn’t know enough about football. He never played in South America. When you don’t have this experience, it may be better not to talk about it. But it doesn’t matter. We are a great team, recognised as such,” Martinez said in a press conference ahead of the World Cup final.
Martinez’s comments came in the wake of Mbappe’s dig at Argentina. The PSG striker suggested that Brazil and Argentina don’t get to play at the level European teams do on a regular basis.
“The advantage we have in Europe is that we play among ourselves with high-level matches all the time, such as the Nations League for example. When we arrive at the World Cup, we are ready, where Brazil and Argentina do not have this level in South America. Football is not as advanced as in Europe. That’s why at the last World Cups, it’s always the Europeans who win,” he told TNT Sports.
For Argentina, while Messi has been key to the team’s goals, Martinez has been in prolific form at the back, keeping the opponent teams’ attempts out. But, there’s no doubting that the challenge posed by a free-scoring France side will be Martinez’s biggest so far in the tournament.
At the age of 23, Mbappe is already looking to lift the coveted World Cup trophy for the 2nd time in his career. Messi, in what would be the last international match of his career, is looking to lift the trophy for the first time ever.
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