‘What are you looking at, idiot? Get lost!’ Lionel Messi’s mockery of Dutch player Wout Weghorst at the World Cup has delighted Argentina, where the phrase has found its way onto mugs, shirts and other products. In a video that has gone viral online, football superstar Messi is being interviewed after Friday’s stormy quarter-final against the Netherlands, when his eyes wander off camera. He then launches his words towards the Dutch substitute – whose two late goals pushed the two teams to penalties – as the reporter struggles to get his attention.
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Argentina came out victorious, but Messi raged after the difficult match to the referee who gave Weghorst a free kick.
The sport’s world governing body, FIFA, has opened disciplinary proceedings against both teams following a World Cup record 18 yellow cards and multiple mass confrontations during the match.
But in Argentina, a saltier Lionel Messi has drawn comparisons to Diego Maradona, a troubled genius known for fiery moments both on and off the pitch.
Companies wasted no time sticking the slogan on a variety of products, with mugs selling for 1,600 pesos ($9), T-shirts for 2,900 pesos, and caps for 3,900 pesos.
“We made the T-shirts right away. The phrase went viral because Messi had a calm, unobtrusive profile at another stage. But people wanted him to have a little bit of Diego (Maradona) spiciness,” says clothing designer Tony Molfese, 31 .
For many in Argentina, the language Messi used is much milder than what can be heard on the street.
“I loved the phrase, so innocent and tender” compared to what you usually hear in the Argentine sports world, said 67-year-old Graciela Squietino, who bought T-shirts for her three grandsons.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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