• Author: Ciaran Varley
  • BBC Sport

1 hour ago

video title,

Lionel Messi: The Destiny Documentary Trailer

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

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

In the hour-long film, the BBC looks at that success with contributions from some of those involved – including players Emiliano Martinez, Alexis McAllister and Julian Alvarez, and manager Lionel Scaloni.

Here are some takeaways from Lionel Messi: Destiny…

A sleepless night followed the defeat by Saudi Arabia

Argentina entered the tournament as one of the favorites, and after a streak of 36 games without defeat.

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

“It was the hardest night of my life – I couldn’t sleep,” recalled goalkeeper Martinez. “I was afraid I would be out of my first World Cup.”

The Aston Villa player (30) compares the game to a boxing match where one person gets knocked out. “We couldn’t fight back,” he says.

Mac Allister played ‘like he was in his own garden’

The 24-year-old has progressed alongside Messi, Enzo Fernandes and Angel Di Maria.

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

Scalloni is also full of praise for Mac Allister, who says: “He showed us something we didn’t know about him – he doesn’t feel pressure.”

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

Argentina players felt at home in Qatar

Scalloni has done a great job of creating the right atmosphere for his players in Qatar – including importing some home comforts.

At the time, it was reported that the squad had transported 2,000 pounds (900 kg) of meat from South America.

“Everything was perfect,” says McAllister. “He felt at home. We played cards and drank [caffeine rich] mate tea… and even Argentinian meat!”

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

Messi became ‘that bad boy’ against Holland

video title,

Highlights Netherlands 2-2 Argentina

Argentina went through a particularly fiery quarter-final that saw 18 yellow cards – two of which resulted in Dutch defender Denzel Dumfries being sent off.

After the final whistle, Argentina’s players taunted their opponents and Martinez – who saved two penalties in the shootout after the 2-2 draw – shouted at Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal.

“I heard Van Gaal say that they had an advantage in the penalty shootout,” he said after the game. “I think he should keep his mouth shut.”

Even the typically soft-spoken Messi took issue with Van Gaal’s comments, who said the Argentina captain did not “participate much” when his team lost the ball.

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

That celebration, the film explains, was inspired by former teammate Juan Roman Riquelme, who felt mistreated by Van Gaal at Barcelona.

But many were surprised by this new side of the Messiah.

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

Martinez is like a ‘kid on the pitch’

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

His antics caused a lot of comments, as he threw the ball, danced and celebrated in front of the French players.

video title,

How Martinez’s antics helped Argentina win the shootout

Speaking about the jig he did after Aurelien Chuameni missed France’s third penalty, he says: “I’ve never danced the way I did after the second penalty they missed. Never in my life.

“That’s me. I’m a kid on the field. I don’t see what’s next.”

By Editor