World Cup: Gary Lineker hits back at Piers Morgan over Lionel Messi claim

The BBC punditry team waxed lyrical over Lionel Messi after a standout performance. (BBC)
The BBC punditry team waxed lyrical over Lionel Messi after a standout performance. (BBC)

Piers Morgan called out the BBC punditry team at the World Cup over the ‘fan-girling’ of Lionel Messi - which prompted a curt response from presenter Gary Lineker.

Messi marked his 1,000th senior appearance with the opening goal in a 2-1 victory over Australia, as Argentina set up an enticing quarter-final against the Netherlands.

After Argentina’s victory, the BBC team praised the Argentinian in a standout performance against Australia.

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Former England captain Alan Shearer said: "We're so lucky to be in this stadium to watch him. What a performance from him, we've talked about his ability, the hunger and desire."

Lineker added: “He does things I've not seen any other player except probably Maradona do.” And Rio Ferdinand admitted that Messi had pulled off the "best individual performance" of the World Cup so far.

However, Morgan took exception to the gushing praise of Argentina’s star.

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He tweeted: "The relentless Messi fan-girling by the whole BBC punditry team is getting excruciatingly obsequious.

“Getting worried one of them might have an “accident” in the studio. Calm yourselves, lads. He had a good game against an average side. See how he does against a good team.”

Lineker responded to Morgan’s tweet, by posting: “Good to see you emerge briefly from deep inside the bowels of Ronaldo to express your opinion.”

The former England captain was referencing Cristiano Ronaldo, with Morgan being a long-standing admirer of the Portuguese star.

Soccer Football - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - Round of 16 - Argentina v Australia - Ahmad bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan, Qatar - December 4, 2022 Argentina's Lionel Messi celebrates after the match as Argentina progress to the quarter finals REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach
Argentina's Lionel Messi celebrates after the match as Argentina progress to the quarter finals. (Reuters)

Meanwhile Messi, whose side face the Dutch in the last eight on Friday, admitted to “amazing feelings” following Argentina’s last 16 win.

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“I’m really happy to share this beautiful moment, these happy moments with them all.

“The effort they are making to be here with us in every single match. I know how much they enjoy it back in Argentina.

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“The whole of Argentina would like to be here, but it’s not possible. I think there’s this bond that we have, this union, which is something beautiful.

“It’s unbelievable what they transmit, the passion, their energy, their joy and we’re very thankful. It’s unbelievable.”

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