Eddie Howe’s obvious reply when asked if Newcastle United could sign Lionel Messi after World Cup
The match saw Argentina icon Lionel Messi lift the World Cup for the first time following a penalty shootout win after a Kylian Mbappe inspired 3-3 comeback for France. Mbappe became only the second player to score a hat-trick in a World Cup final after England’s Geoff Hurst in 1966.
Messi scored twice during the match himself and also picked up the Golden Ball award for the tournament’s best player.
“Dull game, wasn't it? Howe joked. “It was a brilliant spectacle. It was a great advert for football in terms of the game.
“Everything that you saw, the comeback from the French team, it just showed again that football is never done until the whistle goes.
“It was a high-quality game, high-quality players on the pitch and real drama, I think a really good thing for a World Cup final.
“I had my laptop on and I was watching certain things while watching the game. I wasn't totally focused on it because there is always work to do from our side.
“But it was a brilliant thing to see, especially the two world-class players that led both teams. It was a great thing to see.”
Newcastle return to competitive action in the Carabao Cup against AFC Bournemouth at St James’s Park on Tuesday night (7:45pm kick-off) as Howe looks to become the first manager to lead the club to a major trophy since 1969.
And with the January transfer window just around the corner, Sky Sports reporter Keith Downie jokingly asked Howe if he’d be tempted to make a move for Messi in January – but the Newcastle boss wasn’t biting.
“Keith, come on,” Howe smiled. “He's a world-class talent and you can see that age hasn't diminished his attributes. He's never relied purely on pace, he's got the touches and the skills.
“The second goal, for me, was a real thing of beauty. I loved watching that goal and he was integral to that.
Howe added: “It's a great story for him, not that I think he needed it because for me, he's one of the greats anyway, but I think maybe for other people for that World Cup win to add to what he's already achieved, I think it's truly incredible.
“Just the way he conducts himself, it was great to see him at the end with his family and his kids on the pitch. They were great scenes for him personally and for Argentina.”
Looking ahead to the January transfer window and potential targets from the World Cup, Howe continued: “From a recruitment perspective, I don’t think you ever just analyse the World Cup and sign a player off the back of those performances.
"There is a huge body of work goes into signing those players and it is never just off four weeks. That’s not to say we won’t use the World Cup as a recruitment tool and look at players. But just solely on those games, we wouldn’t do that.”