Wout Weghorst has now spoken about his fight with Lionel Messi during the Netherlands’ defeat against Argentina at the 2022 World Cup.
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Coming on as a late substitute, Weghorst bagged a brace as Holland came from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 with the champions and send their quarter-final tie to extra-time & penalties.
The striker’s second goal was notable, coming from a clever free-kick with virtually the last kick of normal time of the clash.
But while the 30-year-old put away his spot kick, it was Messi’s team who won the penalty shootout, before the two sides clashed on the pitch and in the tunnel after an extremely ill-tempered match, where a record number of yellow cards were shown.
It was reported that Weghorst had clashed with Messi and Sergio Aguero, with the Dutchman later explaining: ‘I wanted to shake his [Messi’s] hand after the match, but he smashed my hand away and didn’t want to speak with me.’
Weghorst has since returned to Besiktas, where he is on loan from Premier League side Burnley, while Messi went onto lead Argentina to World Cup triumph.
He scored in his first game back for the Turkish team on Wednesday, as they came from behind to win 4-2 against Sanliurfaspor, with former Everton & Tottenham flops Cenk Tosun and N’Koudou also getting on the scoresheet.
After the match, he was asked about his confrontation with Messi, and while he refused to go into detail, said: ‘During a match, for me, everyone on the pitch is the same, doesn’t matter if I’m playing Messi or [Sanliurfaspor defender Abdulsamet] Burak.
‘I always fight with everything I have. I did that in that match as well. I had some moments with Messi. He was surprised at these moments, and he didn’t like it.
‘I don’t like to speak about other people. I have a lot of respect for him. I think he’s one of the greatest players we’ve ever had in football history.
‘I wanted to show this respect after the match. But he wasn’t really open to that, he was still a little bit angry with me. But I see it as a big plus that he knows my name now!’
While the end result was very disappointing, Weghorst still looks back with pride on Qatar 2022, adding: ‘The World Cup was the best three weeks of my football career.
‘I am happy to have this opportunity. It was something I’d dreamed of since childhood. It was a very good experience.
‘I still wonder how it would be. When I think of penalties, it will always be in my head. To be honest, I didn’t care who won the World Cup.’