Scaloni: Messi showed he is 'best of all time' after Van Gaal 'attack'
Lionel Messi was motivated to lead Argentina past the Netherlands due to feeling "a little attacked" by Louis van Gaal's pre-match comments, Lionel Scaloni said.
Messi is enjoying an outstanding World Cup and continued in that vein on Friday as he scored one and created another in a 2-2 quarter-final draw with the Netherlands.
Argentina advanced after a penalty shoot-out, recovering after Wout Weghorst's dramatic double had denied them victory in normal time.
There had predictably been plenty of focus on Messi heading into the match, with Netherlands coach Van Gaal suggesting Argentina were relying too heavily on their captain in attack while he would not be asked to defend.
Messi appeared to gesture in Van Gaal's direction on multiple occasions, including after scoring, cupping his ears in an apparent reference to Juan Roman Riquelme's own celebration.
Van Gaal and Riquelme were at odds during their time together at Messi's former club Barcelona.
"I'm not going to give Van Gaal advice, but it's not easy to make [Messi] play angry," Argentina coach Scaloni told TyC Sports.
"I don't know if he was angry, but to make him play the way he played today... it's exciting.
"These are things that happen on the pitch and stay there. But we didn't play with one less when we didn't have the ball, we played with 11.
"I think with Leo he felt a little attacked and showed that he is the best of all time. We are happy to have him."
After a last-16 win over Australia, in which Messi was similarly influential, team-mate Alexis Mac Allister had explained how the legendary forward was inspired to perform.
Messi was involved in a confrontation with Australia's Aziz Behich moments before scoring his first World Cup knockout goal.
"Leo, when these things happen, he brings out that inner fire that he has, that personality that makes him even bigger than he is," Mac Allister told reporters.