The Socceroos have been criticized for ‘fanboying’ over Lionel Messi after Argentina knocked Australia out of the World Cup.
Footage from the dressing rooms showed Australian players Keanu Baccus, Joel King and Marco Tilio posing for photos with Messi after the match.
Each player later uploaded their photos with the Argentine skipper to their Instagram accounts, where their followers shared their joy
Soceroos player Marco Tilio told his Instagram followers that Messi was his “idol” growing up
King proudly showed his photo with Messi to his teammates and a reporter, while Tilio took to Instagram to share the special moment.
“To be a part of something so special and to have learned so much,” he wrote.
To then meet my idol when I was growing up and the best player in the world. I am so grateful and feel blessed. Thank you Australia, what an experience.’
However, some Aussie fans said the photos came too soon after the devastating World Cup loss, which saw Australia lose 2-1 to Argentina on Sunday morning.
“They should be suspended from the national team,” one person wrote on Twitter.
Footage from the changing rooms showed Australian players Keanu Baccus, Joel King and Marco Tilio posing for photos with Messi after the game
“I think a lot of people would still be mad if they left the World Cup to worry about a selfie with Messi,” a second agreed.
‘Deserved to lose. Imagine if it’s the reason your country is no longer in the World Cup and you don’t even care and you smile,” said a third.
“Completely un-Australian thing to do,” added a fourth.
Others said posing for a photo with one of the world’s greatest players was understandable, despite the World Cup loss.
“Why are people upset by this? It’s after the game and most of our players grew up watching him,” another fan wrote.
However, some Aussie fans said the photos came too soon after the devastating World Cup loss, which saw Australia lose 2-1 to Argentina on Sunday morning (pictured)
“You don’t see or play with a goat every day,” another agreed.
“Those players will one day show these pictures to their grandchildren and tell them I played the GOAT (Greatest of All Time).”
‘There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this! The man is an icon!’ another wrote.
However, many would argue that it was Aussie player Cameron Devlin who came out on top and secured the shirt Messi wore during the game against his team.
Footage shared on Twitter shows Messi heading for the dressing room shortly after winning the Player of the Match award before stopping and exchanging words with someone who is out of range.
Messi took his shirt after picking up the Player of the Match Award in the tunnel
As the Argentinian skipper takes off his shirt, the camera pans to Devlin, who shakes Messi’s hand and hands him his still-folded match shirt.
Messi does the same with his, quickly tucking Devlin, one of six Socceroos who didn’t see a minute of action in Qatar, under his training shirt before the two split.
The shirt Messi wore against Australia is a prized possession under normal circumstances and could be a real collector’s item.
It was the Argentine maestro’s 1,000th match, which he marked with an excellent finish to put his side ahead after 35 minutes into the first half.
The goal was Messi’s ninth World Cup goal – one behind La Albiceleste’s record goalscorer Gabriel Batistuta – and his first in the knockout stages.
Devlin did not play a minute at the World Cup for Australia
It could be the last Argentina shirt in which Messi ever wins a match, should Lionel Scaloni’s men fall out against the Netherlands in the quarter-finals on Friday.
Socceroos boss Graham Arnold admitted to being impressed by Messi’s brilliance after the Argentine skipper delivered a stellar performance.
“He’s one of the greatest ever,” he said.
“We worked really hard not to be in awe of him because of the great player he is.
“But wow, he’s remarkable.
“I had the privilege of playing against Diego Maradona and now coaching against Messi – they are both great players and Argentina should be so proud and happy to have players of that calibre.”