Legendary coach, Arsene Wenger, has heaped praises on Argentine superstar, Lionel Messi, ahead of the final match of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Wenger, a former Arsenal coach who is now FIFA’s football development chief, said the 35-year-old had rediscovered his ability to hurt teams with his change of pace in Qatar.
“The boss of the orchestra is Messi and the music starts when he has the ball. But the rest of the orchestra is ready to work very hard.
“What is surprising for me in this tournament is that he has rediscovered that physical capacity to accelerate again at the right moment. He played a little bit last year at Paris Saint-Germain one-paced but he has mastered slow-quick again.
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“He was never super quick but he was a master in change of direction and change of pace and he has found that again in this tournament. He attracts the opponent and suddenly he has that little burst that makes the difference.
“I’ve seen him here in the middle of three players and he’s like a guy with a lion in the circus.
“He tells the ball ‘you listen to me, my friend, I’m the boss here’.
“And overall I would say that he has always had unbelievable quality for such a master of dribbling – he knew always when to pass the ball and usually when players are very talented in dribbling they exaggerate a little bit,” he said.
Wenger however refused to compare Messi with France’s 23-year-old attacker, Mbappe, a player many believe will take on the Argentine’s mantle of the world’s best player.
Both men have five goals each in Qatar which puts them at the joint top of the goalscoring charts with one game to go.
“I would say they are different players,” said the Frenchman. “Mbappe has huge flexibility, huge power and he’s very intelligent as well but in a different way.
“He uses his power and he knows how to use his physical potential but he is also very creative in the final third.
“Both of them have something that is very difficult to get – they are not nervous with a lot of traffic around them in the final third. They keep their vision,” he said.