World Cup official Mateu Lahoz has opened up on the classy gesture shown by Lionel Messi after the referee officiated the quarter-final game between Argentina and the Netherlands.
The two countries served up one of the best and most controversial games in Qatar, with the spotlight being on so many incidents and the referee Lahoz, who fans claimed had an off day.
The Spanish referee issued 14 yellow cards – eight for the world champions and six for their opponents. He topped it with one red card for Denzel Dumfries during the shootout.
As reported by Marca, Messi and Emiliano Martinez expressed their dissatisfaction with the officiating, with the goalkeeper calling him useless. Lahoz was sent home afterwards, though it was pre-planned.
As reported by Mirror UK, the Argentina captain admitted he had regrets despite winning the tournament, and it was his actions during the quarter-final game in which he insulted Wout Weghorst and Louis van Gaal.
The official has now opened up on Messi’s gesture after the game while speaking to Marca via Tribuna.
“Leo Messi CALLED ME and APOLOGIZED FOR THE HARSH WORDS HE DIRECTED AT ME. HE SAID HE WASN’T HIMSELF,” he said.
The two had history during Messi’s time in La Liga before leaving Barcelona in 2021. In 2018, the official apologised for ruling out Messi’s goal in the 1-1 draw against Atletico Madrid, a goal that would have handed Barca the title.
Guardiola also had his fair share of controversy from Lahoz, who sent off the Manchester City boss during the 2017/18 UEFA Champions League quarter-final against Liverpool.