WATCH: The Saudi Arabian player provokes Messi and leaves him speechless
A sensational surprise arrived on the third day of the World Cup in Qatar: Messi’s Argentina, in excellent form and given among the favorites for the final victory, were beaten 2-1 by Saudi Arabia, whose chances before the start of the whistle – more than 20 times the stake – says it all about the disparity of values on the field.
And yet Hervé Renard’s side stole absolutely nothing, putting their most famous opponents in their pockets – thanks to perfect tactics. Despite a vastly more talented side on paper, Scaloni really didn’t get anything going at a certain moment, failing to change the outcome of the match and the flow of it with apathetic attacks…
If in Argentina the defeat was welcomed as national mourning given the expectations of an entire country – with journalists even in tears at the “Lusail Iconic” stadium – the mood that spread after the match in Saudi Arabia is understandably quite different, where the players of historical victory have already been raised to national idols.
And if Saleh Al-Shehri and Salem Al-Dawsari – who scored the two goals that turned the game around between the 48th and 53rd minutes after Argentina’s initial advantage from Messi’s penalty – are the faces that have taken the glory, another footballer from Arabia has quickly become an absolute legend in the eyes of his fans.
We are talking about Ali Al-Bulayhi, a 33-year-old Al-Hilal defender with whom he won the Asian Champions League in 2019, a lifetime spent in his national championship away from the attention of the rest of the world. In short, the most unexpected antiheroes, who at a precise moment decided to appear on the biggest stage of his life.
البليهي بعد هدف السعودية راح يحتفل قدام ميسي يساااتررر يالسطاوه😰😰😰😰😰pic.twitter.com/zHRiJmU4yZ
— Auz (@i3ziz77) November 22, 2022
It happened shortly after Saudi Arabia’s second goal when – while all his team-mates were celebrating the scorer – Al-Bulayhi turned menacingly towards Leo Messi to show him who was ahead.
The World Cup’s most unlikely face-to-face video instantly went viral: the scene is surreal, almost like a dream if it hadn’t really happened. Al-Bulayhi comes up behind the 35-year-old PSG forward and ‘taps’ him hard on the back a few times to get his attention, then he proudly grabs his shirt and starts shouting – in who knows what language – at Messi, whose reaction is surprisingly big…
“You won’t win, you won’t win!”, these are the words of the Saudi to his noble opponent – he will find out for himself after the match – when most of the second half of the match was a sporting battle.
Rosario’s champion, literally, remains petrified, unable to say a word, completely dominated by the competitive grit of the Saudi player, who at that moment had risen to the symbol and performer of the iron will of an entire country to overturn the balance of power carved with a century of football history.
At one point, Messi seems to laugh and says: “But what does this guy want?”. Then Lautaro and Papu Gomez arrive to dislodge Al-Bulayhi and protect their leader, but the game in those moments took a turn that cannot be reversed.
“There are no excuses. We will be more united than ever – said Messi after the match – This group is strong and they have shown it. It is a situation that we have not had to face for a long time, now they have to show that this is a real group”.