Ali Al-Bulayhi, Saudi Arabia defender has revealed he had a few words with Lionel Messi during his team’s shock win over Argentina at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Saudi Arabia pulled off a huge shock at World Cup 2022 on Tuesday, coming from behind to beat Argentina 2-1 in Group C. Defender Ali Al-Bulaihi told reporters after the game that he spoke to Messi during the match to let him know he’d finish on the losing side.
Messi opened the scoring but Saleh Al-Shehri equalized, and when Salem Al-Dawsari gave his side a surprise lead five minutes later, Al-Bulayhi had a confident message for the opposition captain.
But despite dominating the first half Argentina was not able to extend their lead any further and Saudi Arabia ripped up the rule book with a quick-fire double. Argentina wasn’t able to rally as the Saudis dug deep in a great performance.
And immediately after taking a shock lead, Al-Bulayhi decided to turn and shout at Messi rather than celebrate with the rest of his teammates.
He slapped the Paris Saint-Germain forward forcefully in the back to get Messi’s attention.
“I told him you won’t win,” said Al-Bulayhi when asked what he had said to Messi. The Argentine captain had opened the scoring during the match from the penalty spot but could not prevent his side’s 36-game unbeaten streak from coming to an end.
Messi looked stunned as Al-Bulayhi grabbed his shirt to symbolise his pride in his country, before half-smiling as he turned away.
Argentina stars Papu Gomez and Lautaro Martinez came over and proceeded to push Al-Bulayhi away from Messi, but not before the Saudi center-back grabbed his shirt as a way of showing his national pride.
Why Saudi Arabia never wins, any respect, in anything!
Watch: How #SaudiArabia player Al-Bulayhi slapped 7 time Ballon d’Or winner on the back to say ‘You won’t win’
— Raman (@SaffronDelhite) November 23, 2022
And Argentina could not stop Al-Bulayhi’s 53rd-minute prediction from becoming reality as Saudi Arabia successfully held on to clinch a truly remarkable win in their World Cup opener.
Messi has already issued a rallying cry after the defeat, telling his team they must be “more united than ever.” Argentina still has Mexico and Poland left to play in the group and can’t afford many more mistakes if they are to make it through to the knockout stages.
Despite his intimidation attempt not having the desired effect, Al-Bulayhi had the last laugh when the final whistle blew.
Argentina will wonder how they lost the Group C opener, having dominated the first half where they had three goals chalked off.
Argentine entered the World Cup race as one of the favorites to win the prestigious trophy but Saudi Arabia put their hope of becoming a champion in a dark shadow.
What’s next for Argentina?
Argentina will now face Mexico on Saturday in what effectively becomes a must-win game.
La Albiceleste will aim to bounce back from their shock defeat when they face Mexico on Saturday.