Filipino boxing legend Manny Pacquiao congratulated Lionel Messi on a stunning World Cup win after Canelo Alvarez had thrown accusations the Argentine’s way earlier in the tournament.
Pacquiao, a professed Barcelona fan who cites Messi as one of his sporting idols, mentioned the famous number ten post-match.
He stated: Messi! So happy for you. Greatness,” with an accompanying goat for good measure.
“Pac-Man” had just witnessed one of the greatest World Cup finals ever as Messi and Kylian Mbappe shone in a fantastic battle.
Argentina came out on top after a penalty shoot-out against France following a 3-3 draw. Messi scored two. While Mbappe got the Golden Boot after bagging an unlikely hat trick.
Mbappe was behind Messi at one point in the race to be the competition’s top scorer. However, the PSG striker overhauled his team-mate by slotting in two goals in a minute towards the end of the game.
In extra time, Messie put Argentina in front until Mbappe put another penalty away to launch the dreaded penalties.
Argentina prevailed 4-2 on pens after heroics from Gonzalo Montiel and goalkeeper Emi Martinez.
Having lost their first game against Saudi Arabia, it was a remarkable comeback from Argentina, who hadn’t won the coveted gold trophy for 36 years.
Canelo and Lionel Messi beef
During the group stage, their match against Mexico had become do-or-die. A loss against their Americas rivals would have prevented Argentina from completing their story.
Undisputed boxing super-middleweight king Canelo watched his team lose 2-0, with Messi scoring a goal. However, in the aftermath, Canelo said Messi had disrespected his Mexican team by stamping on a shirt in the dressing room.
After a viral rant, Canelo was forced to apologize after a backlash.
He said: “These last few days, I got carried away by the passion and love I feel for my country. I made comments that were out of place.
“I want to apologize to Messi and the people of Argentina. Every day we learn something new, and this time it was my turn.”
He added: “I wish both teams much success in their matches today, and here we will continue supporting Mexico until the end.”
Canelo’s words come after Mexican captain Andrés Guardado defended Messi publicly.
He said: “I know the person Messi is. It seems to me nonsense what is being talked about.”
Yordenis Ugas, the Cuban ex-world welterweight titleholder who defeated Manny Pacquiao, also jumped to Messi’s aid.
Ugas stated: “You are the greatest representation of boxing and Latinos especially, that many of us see in you a mirror of respect, triumph, and professionalism.
“Behaving like that in that way is disappointing. We expect more from you, champion. Look at all the shirts on the floor after a match.
“Messi is a gentleman. He has never made fun of any rival and even less of a nation of warriors like Mexico.
“It was a contested match that won the best. The fans fight each other for nothing. We don’t like to see a star like you putting pepper on it. The two countries are great rivals.”
Argentina’s former Manchester City legend Sergio Aguero had also told Canelo he was wrong about Messi. Aguero ran from the crowd at the final whistle and celebrated with the team as they lifted the cup in Qatar.
Canelo posted a message after Messi kissed the cup. “Congratulations, Argentina, they deserved it,” he said.
Messi had the last laugh over Canelo in the end.