Gvardiol claims Messi 'plays differently' with Argentina
Josko Gvardiol will take pride in having faced "the best player in history", even if Lionel Messi went to another level in an Argentina shirt to humiliate the Croatia defender.
Gvardiol and Messi have been two of the stars of the 2022 World Cup and came face to face in the semi-finals.
But it was a battle Messi won emphatically, scoring one goal and creating another in a 3-0 Argentina win.
It was the assist that garnered most attention as Messi took on Gvardiol, beating him twice before cutting the ball back for Julian Alvarez.
Gvardiol was on the wrong end of one of the moments of the finals, but he was still delighted to be able to play Messi.
"I have already played against him, but he plays differently than with his club," Gvardiol said.
"It's a great experience, and one day I'll tell my kids that I played against the best player in history."
Messi has seemingly confirmed this will be his last World Cup, as he attempts to lead Argentina past France in Sunday's final, and the same is expected of 37-year-old Croatia midfielder Luka Modric.
But Andrej Kramaric, speaking alongside RB Leipzig player Gvardiol, is not so sure Modric is ready to quit the international game.
"We all know how many nice words were written about Luka and what he did not only for Croatia but the whole world," Kramaric said. "Knowing him, I'm not sure that this is his last.
"Age comes for everyone, including for him, but he will remain immortal for the whole world. He makes everything easier and simpler, which is difficult."