The Croatian forward expresses how in a matter of 90 minutes he changed his mind to collect a souvenir from one of the greatest players ever; Lionel Messi.
Published By: Dalipinder Singh Sandhu (Bliss)
Ante Rebic who scored the opening goal against Argentina in the FIFA World Cup 2018 has spoken about the match and is not happy with the lack of sportsmanship from the South-American side.
The 24-year-old talked to Goal and has come out lashing the Argentina side for the way they handled the defeat and the pressure. Even the man considered as one of the ‘good boy’ by the former FIFA president Sepp Blatter has been criticised by Rebic.
“To be honest, I wanted to get Messi’s jersey for my friend, who is a big fan of Leo, but the Argentines made such a bad impression on me that I gave up on asking Messi for his jersey.”
Rebic claims that the players from English Premier League (EPL) are considered to be toughened and used to the high tempo games but that was not the case with Otamendi who plays for Manchester City and Argentina NT.
“Honestly, I expected much more. At least of those players from the Premier League, who are used to a high tempo and duels. You saw Nicolas Otamendi – in the fourth minute Mandzukic passed by him and he was rolling on the floor. I am disappointed by their behavior and lack of fair play, not to mention how they provoked us. An athlete should know how to deal with defeat.”
The Eintracht Frankfurt player further continued to express his dismay with the match official Ravshan Irmatov, suggesting the Uzbek did not have enough experience at the top level to run such a game at World Cup stage.
“The referee was not of a quality level and it is not the first time it has happened at the World Cup, with many referees without experience in some of biggest competitions like the Champions League.”
Rebic did not keep anything in his heart and even revealed that the referee was not even experienced enough to realize what it is a World Cup game and he is supposed to wear cleats and not sneakers.
“We felt a lot of decisions went Argentina’s way, so I was sure he wasn’t going to show me a second yellow card. I appreciate this is the World Cup and you have to have referees from all over, but it’s important that these matches be led by referees who can match the importance and the pace of the match. For example, the referee didn’t even have football boots but only regular sneakers! That shocked us.”
Rebic claims that though the decisions were not in their favor and referee did not do a good job, but all it did was to add sweetness in the flavor of their 3-0 victory.
“I feel sorry to be nervous about some referee’s decisions now rather than enjoying my goal and the fact we smashed Argentina. When Otamendi deliberately kicked Rakitic with the ball, that was clear red card. But, it only makes our victory sweeter.”
Croatia now has qualified for the round of 16 from Group D. Argentina, on the other hand, are on a very thin ice and need to win against Nigeria if they wish to avoid an early flight back to South America, even a draw would result in their elimination.