Lionel Messi paid tribute to Argentina legend Diego Maradona after leading his side to a penalty shootout victory over the Netherlands on Friday.
The Albiceleste surrendered a two-goal lead with less than ten minutes to go, but were eventually victorious on penalties after goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez saved two in the shootout.
Messi dedicated the victory to the Argentina legend and one of the game’s greatest ever players, who he says “is watching us from heaven” and pushing the team to the very end. The 35-year-old also described the feeling of relief upon making it to the semi-finals.
“Diego is watching us from heaven,” Messi said after the match. “He is pushing us and I really hope this stays the same until the end. When Lautaro scored and we qualified there was a huge joy. It was a weight off our chest. It was a very hard match. From the beginning it was a really tough match, we knew it would be this way.
“We were really happy and we enjoyed that moment and that’s what we can see here and also in Argentina because people are really happy, they are really excited and they are full of enthusiasm. The Dutch team made trouble for us with long balls and a lot of players in the area. In the end they drew and we suffered. But we were able to seal our passage to the semi-finals, which is what we wanted.”