Reactions to Messi’s World Cup triumph: Obama pays homage to “greatest of all time”, Kahn comforts

Reactions to Messi’s World Cup triumph
Obama pays homage to “greatest of all time”, comforts Kahn

What is probably the most spectacular World Cup final in history not only provokes reactions within the world of sport. President Emmanuel Macron and Oliver Kahn comfort the dethroned French, while former US President Barack Obama clarifies who is “the greatest of all time”.

The football world bows to the new world champion Lionel Messi. Former stars and numerous companions pay homage to the Argentine superstar. “Messi has won his first world title as his career deserves,” Brazilian legend Pele wrote on Instagram. “Congratulations Argentina. Diego is certainly smiling now,” added the 82-year-old, who has lifted the World Cup three times in his career. Diego Maradona, who died two years ago, was the last Argentina captain in 1986 before Messi to lift the World Cup. Messi and Argentina beat holders France 4-2 on penalties at the World Cup in Qatar on Sunday.

Pelé’s compatriot Neymar, who plays with Messi at Paris Saint-Germain, also congratulated. “Congratulations, brother,” wrote the 30-year-old on Instagram to the new world champion. In addition, Neymar, who surprisingly lost to Croatia in the quarter-finals with Brazil, posted a photo of Messi with the World Cup trophy. The picture got more than 16 million likes by Monday morning. Messi’s long-time rival Cristiano Ronaldo, on the other hand, was quiet on his social media accounts on Sunday evening. The five-time world footballer failed in the World Cup quarter-finals with Portugal against Morocco.

There were congratulations for Messi from many long-time companions. “Let them say what they want, you are and will always be the best,” wrote Uruguay’s Luis Suárez, with whom Messi once played at FC Barcelona. Sergio Aguero, who played with Messi for a long time in the national team and even celebrated on the World Cup pitch, announced: “The best in the world, you are the best friend. I love you.” Former England goalscorer Gary Lineker tweeted it was “a privilege to see Lionel Messi for almost two decades”. He was a gift from the football gods.

For Obama, all doubts are gone

Former US President Barack Obama also raves about Messi – and gives his answer in an ongoing debate in football. “Congratulations to Argentina and to GOAT, Lionel Messi for an incredible World Cup win,” the 61-year-old tweeted. GOAT stands for “Greatest of All Time”. Basketball superstar LeBron James tweeted Messi’s name with a goat emoji, among other things – Ziege means “Goat” in English. Former Wimbledon champion Andy Murray wrote: “Is Messi the greatest sportsman of all time? Forget football. What man.”

Meanwhile, there was consolation for the dethroned soccer world champion France. President Emmanuel Macron has already expressed himself in an emotional cabin speech. “You will certainly have regrets after this game, but you played great football,” said Macron. The team showed “heart, hunger, desire and talent”.

He was also very sad, Macron then emphasized in an interview with journalists: “Especially because the players were so close to the goal. And at the same time I told them that they made us incredibly proud.” Macron also paid tribute to the performance of Kylian Mbappé, who scored three goals in the final and also scored on penalties. “That’s what makes great players,” said the 44-year-old, who watched the final at the Lusail stadium in Qatar: “He’s not even 24 and I’ll be honest I’m not in the best position to to reason with people tonight because I was at least as sad as he was.” Macron also assured that he would receive the team at the Elysée Palace without giving a specific date.

Praise from Kahn and Salihamidžić

Meanwhile, Oliver Kahn has already started to rebuild the French stars of FC Bayern. “After a lost final, it’s about getting back up and going on. All players can be very proud of their performance overall,” said the CEO of the German record champions. He himself lost the final against Brazil in 2002.

Central defenders Dayot Upamecano and Kingsley Coman were allowed to play in the World Cup final, while Benjamin Pavard was denied a chance after the start of the group stage after criticism from France coach Didier Deschamps. Lucas Hernández had to prematurely end all hopes of further appearances after suffering a cruciate ligament rupture at the start of the tournament. “I feel sorry for our French players,” said sporting director Hasan Salihamidžić after the final. “They showed very strong performances.”

On January 3, FC Bayern will start preparing for the rest of the season, in which there will be a duel with finalists Messi and Mbappé against Paris Saint-Germain in the round of 16 of the Champions League. The Bundesliga begins for Munich on January 20 with the game against RB Leipzig. “We are looking forward to the return of our vice world champions, they played a strong tournament – and in 2023 it will be ‘Allez les Rouges!’ with renewed vigour,” said FCB President Herbert Hainer.

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