Josko Gvardiol will take pride in having faced “the best player in history”, even if Lionel Messi went to another level in an Argentina shirt to humiliate the Croatia defender.
Guardiol and Messi were two of the stars of the 2022 World Cup and faced each other in the semi-finals.
But it was a battle Messi won emphatically as he scored one goal and set up another in Argentina’s 3-0 win.
It was the assist that drew the most attention as Messi took on Guardiola, beating him twice before cutting the ball back for Julian Alvarez.
Guardiol was on the wrong end of one of the moments in the final but was still happy to play Messi.
“I have played against him before, but he plays differently than with his club,” Guardiol said.
“It’s a great experience and one day I’ll tell my kids that I played against the best player in history.”
Messi has seemingly confirmed this will be his last World Cup as he tries to lead Argentina past France in Sunday’s final, with 37-year-old Croatian midfielder Luka Modric expected to do the same.
But Andrej Kramarič, speaking alongside RB Leipzig player Guardiola, is not so sure Modric is ready to leave the international game.
“We all know how many nice words were written about Luka and what he did not only for Croatia, but for the whole world,” said Kramarič. “Knowing him, I’m not sure if this is his last.
“Age comes to everyone, even to him, but to the whole world it will remain immortal. It makes everything easy and simple, which is difficult.”