Gary Neville dishes out his World Cup awards and says Cristiano Ronaldo overachieved
Gary Neville snubs Jude Bellingham as the World Cup’s best young star, hands Lionel Messi the top prize over Kylian Mbappe and says Cristiano Ronaldo OVERACHIEVED despite his struggles
Gary Neville has picked Lionel Messi as the World Cup’s player of the tournament but snubbed Jude Bellingham in favour of Julian Alvarez as the best young star in Qatar.
The Sky Sports pundit has delivered his verdict on the 2022 World Cup ahead of Sunday’s final between France and Argentina.
Neville in his Sky Sports column dished out who he believed starred and underachieved during the tournament, while also gave his opinion on whether Cristiano Ronaldo underachieved for Portugal.
Gary Neville has dished out awards to Lionel Messi and Julian Alvarez in his World Cup verdict
Jude Bellingham though has been snubbed for young player behind Argentine striker Alvarez
Giving out his player of the tournament, Neville said the official winner will depend on the outcome of Sunday’s final, but says he personally would choose Messi over Kylian Mbappe.
He said: ‘Mbappe has got some great players around him whereas the players around Messi are of a good standard but not at the same level. Messi is nothing like the player he was 10 years ago obviously because of his age, but he’s just delivering in one or two moments, unbelievable moments with an assist, a goal.’
In terms of his young player, Neville name-dropped England midfielder Bellingham, as well as Spain pair Gavi and Pedri for their performances during the competition.
Neville chose Messi over Kylian Mbappe due to the greater quality in the French national team
However, he decided to give it Manchester City star Alvarez, who has netted four times during the tournament – including two in the semi-final win over Croatia.
He said: ‘Alvarez has become really important to Messi. When Messi was playing with Lautaro Martinez earlier in the tournament it wasn’t really happening for him, but Alvarez has emerged in the last few games and his work in and around Messi is noticeable. He’s a bright spark, he’s on the same wavelength as Messi.’
Also in his awards, he named Morocco’s Walid Regragui as the manager of the tournament, while chose Belgium over Germany and Brazil as the biggest disappointment.
Gary Neville says Cristiano Ronaldo overachieved despite Portugal crashing out of the quarter-finals, but feels his team-mate who was benched in Qatar will feel he has underachieved
Morocco’s Walid Regragui has been chosen as Neville’s manager of the tournament
Belgium were chosen as the biggest disappointment of the tournament ahead of Germany
Regragui guided Morocco to the semi-finals while Belgium crashed out of the group stage.
Neville in his column also said that while Cristiano Ronaldo will feel he underachieved during the World Cup, he personally believes his former Manchester United team-mate overachieved.
The former United defender doubled down on his previous claims that now former Portugal manager Fernando Santos let Ronaldo down, by not playing to his strengths like Argentina have done with Messi.
Neville also said he felt sorry for Ronaldo ending his tournament in tears after Portugal’s defeat to Morocco in what is likely to be his final World Cup.
He added: ‘I wouldn’t class it as an underachievement from Cristiano, it’s an overachievement for him to be doing what he’s doing at 37 years of age. It’s just the way it ended with him being out of the team, and how disappointing and poor Portugal were as a group chasing the game against Morocco.’
Messi will look to finally win the World Cup when Argentina play France in Sunday’s final