Former Uruguayan defender Diego Lugano has questioned the legitimacy of Argentina’s 2022 FIFA World Cup win in Qatar.
Lionel Messi and his star-studded Argentina defeated past defending champions France in the final at the Lusail Iconic Stadium via penalties to lift the trophy.
The Paris Saint-Germain superstar also took home the Golden Ball after scoring seven goals and providing three assists for his teammates. He scored twice in the final to force a penalty shootout before converting his spot kick to Argentina, ending 36 years of not winning the World Cup.
However, former Uruguay Lugano international has come out to claim that Messi’s popularity aided Argentina’s World Cup.
The Albeceste were awarded five penalties during the tournament in Qatar, four of which their captain Messi converted.
According to Lugano, FIFA helped Argentina to clinch the trophy due to their captain’s global popularity.
Speaking to Futnbl por Carve TiaDiaria Vis Sportskeeda, Lugano said:
“That they gave him help is that there is no doubt. Argentina had its merit, but of the five penalties, 4 I think no one has any doubt that they were not. They were totally forced; that is the reality. But that is to the credit of Messi, who moves a lot worldwide.”
“You see (Mike) Tyson in the Messi shirt; you see Tiger Woods. You see Roger Federer. Do you think that FIFA doesn’t see that and it doesn’t work for them? The merit of Messi and later also the merit of Argentina, who knew how to take advantage of that.”
Despite Lugano’s claims, it goes beyond the argument that Lionel Messi was at his mercurial best in Qatar. The Paris Saint-Germain scored seven goals and provided three assists, two of which were brilliant. He was also influential in providing leadership, stepping up first to take the penalty in every shootout.