Former Ireland midfielder Meyler spoke to the Sunday World as he backed Virgin Media’s ‘Gamers are Athletes’ campaign
Former Ireland midfielder Meyler spoke to the Sunday World as he backed Virgin Media’s ‘Gamers are Athletes’ campaign – and he is convinced Lionel
Messi and his team-mates can claim the biggest prize in the game
“I’d love to see Messi win it and Argentina winning the final – and if they do, it will be very similar to the story of Spain at the 2010 World Cup,” said Meyler.
“Spain lost their opening game of that tournament and went on to win the World Cup, so I think it can happen again.
“When you have a guy like Messi in your team, he has that little piece of magic in his locker to change a game with a brilliant pass or an amazing goal.
“That’s what you need in the knockout stages of these competitions, when everything is so tight and there is nothing between the teams.
“I have backed Argentina from the start and I’m delighted to see how they have recovered from the defeat in the opening game against Saudi Arabia.
“They came into this World Cup on the back of a long unbeaten run and after winning the Copa America, so they have a winning mentality.
“That was important after the defeat against the Saudis because they were under massive pressure after that and had to come through.
“All of us who love football would be delighted to see Messi win the World Cup.
“We’ve all been fortunate to live through an era that has included two of the best players of all time in Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, and one of them should be a World Cup winner.
“Seeing Ronaldo score for Portugal in a fifth successive World Cup was an amazing moment and I don’t think we fully appreciate how incredible that achievement is.
“He’s Portugal’s youngest and older scorer at a World Cup and has done that over 20 years. That’s just insane.
“Messi also has a longevity that is hard to believe and these two great champions keep coming up with moments that confirm their status as two of the best players we have ever seen.”
Sport and politics have been uncomfortably mixed during this World Cup, with the human-rights issues in Qatar continuing to provide a negative backdrop to this tournament.
Yet with Saudi Arabia favourites to land the right to stage the 2030 World Cup, Meyler hopes the narrative headlines of the last few weeks will force a change in mentality.
“I’d like to see sport and politics separated, but it is very hard for them not to cross over when you have an event like this in Qatar,” he added.
“It’s incredible to think in the day and age we are living in that so many migrant workers have lost their lives building the stadiums for this World Cup.
“Then you see how tough it is for LGBTQ+ people in Qatar, and that can’t be right.
“FIFA’s big message is “Football Is For All”, and that’s the way it should be in the biggest event in the game.
“I don’t want to get started on FIFA because they have so many problems, but hopefully, with these issues being raised we will bring about some change.
“That would be a victory coming out of this World Cup, but I’m not holding my breath.”
David Meyler spoke to the Sunday World as part of Virgin Media’s ‘Gamers are Athletes’ campaign.