In a surprising revelation, former Uruguayan international Diego Lugano has claimed that FIFA, the governing body of international football, provided assistance to Lionel Messi and Argentina, ultimately leading to their victory in the 2022 FIFA World Cup held in Qatar.
Lionel Messi, 35, received the prestigious Golden Ball award for his outstanding performance throughout the tournament, amassing an impressive tally of seven goals and three assists. However, Lugano’s comments suggest that external factors may have contributed to Messi’s success on the grand stage.
During the World Cup, Argentina was awarded a total of five penalties, with Messi successfully converting four of them. Lugano argues that these penalty decisions were influenced by Messi’s global popularity, implying that FIFA wanted to capitalize on the Argentine superstar’s immense appeal to boost the tournament’s viewership and overall popularity.
Lugano expressed his views in an interview with Futnbl por Carve TiaDiaria, stating, “That they [FIFA] gave him [Messi] help is no doubt. Argentina had its merit, but of the 5 penalties, 4, I think no one has any doubt that they were not. They were totally forced, that is the reality. But that’s to the credit of Messi, who moves a lot worldwide.”
The former Uruguayan international further highlighted the commercial aspect of FIFA’s decision-making, drawing attention to the presence of renowned athletes such as Mike Tyson, Tiger Woods, and Roger Federer wearing Messi’s shirt. Lugano questioned whether FIFA would ignore the marketing potential of such endorsements and not utilize them to their advantage, suggesting that the organization may have influenced match officials to favor Argentina.
While Lugano’s claims may be viewed as controversial, they shed light on the intricate relationship between sport and commercial interests, raising questions about the fairness and integrity of major international tournaments like the FIFA World Cup.
It is important to note that Lugano’s comments represent his personal opinion and have not been substantiated by concrete evidence or official statements from FIFA or any other relevant authorities. However, they contribute to the ongoing discussions surrounding the role of external factors in the outcome of high-stakes sporting events.
As the football world processes Lugano’s allegations, attention will undoubtedly turn to FIFA and its continued efforts to uphold transparency, fairness, and the spirit of competition in future World Cup tournaments.