Legendary football manager Arsene Wenger says Paris St Germain stars Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe are not the most important players for their teams as Argentina battle France for the World Cup trophy on Sunday.
Both Messi and Mbappe have scored five goals apiece in this FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 tournament and are their countries and tournament’s joint topscorers.
With the footballing world narrowing Sunday’s battle down to these two phenomenal players, Wenger says the pressure will be on them on Sunday but there are other players who are important to their respective sides.
“The two players are under pressure to deliver the final for their countries (Messi and Mbappe).
“But there are two players very important for both sides. Oliver Giroud and Julian Alvarez who were not expected to be there at the start of the tournament. Both have been very very influential for their team.
“Football is a product of collective intelligence. While Messi moves and creates space for himself, his teammates also activate the movements to effect the game,” said Wenger.
Wenger however praised the longevity of Messi in the game, stating that the fact that a 35-year old player could be in discussion as tournament’s best player is as a result of football evolution and sports science.
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“In spite of all the negativity about health and welfare of players, it is great to see that players like that still dominate at this age. There is also Luka Modric at 37 for Croatia and things like this were not happening in say, thirty years ago,” added Wenger.
“In some of the statistics reeled out by the FIFA Technical Study Group, there have been 21 more goals from crosses than in 2018, an increase of 18%. This was attributed to the quality of the crosses.
Fisayo Dairo from Doha, Qatar