Dunphy speaking on the RTÉ panel last week. Facebook/RTÉ Soccer
Ah you can't be saying that now

'You should get a job on f***ing Morning Ireland' - Dunphy denies saying Messi is finished

The RTÉ pundit had a heated exchanged with Alan Cawley on last night’s Game On.

Updated at 15.00

FOR SOME TIME now, Eamon Dunphy has been telling everyone who will listen that Lionel Messi and the current Barcelona team are in decline.

The RTÉ football analyst questioned whether the Argentine superstar had got much “left in the tank” after their Champions League exit at the hands of Juventus last week.

So it wasn’t surprising to see Dunphy called out on his comments after the Messi scored two — including a stunning last-minute winner — in Sunday night’s El Clasico at the Santiago Bernabeu.

The game was one of the most entertaining meetings ever between Spain’s top two, and Messi’s celebration has already become an iconic moment in the game.

On RTÉ Radio 1′s Morning Ireland yesterday, Darren Frehill ended his news round by poking fun at Eamo, saying: “A certain pundit that we have here on a regular basis thought he was finished.”

Then, on last night’s edition of 2fm’s Game On, football pundit Alan Cawley pulled him up. But Dunphy wasn’t having it.

Here’s how the conversation went:

Cawley: You’ve made a bit of a boo-boo, Eamon.

Dunphy: What did I do? 

Cawley: I was sitting at home last week watching the match and I was saying ‘please no, Eamon, please don’t write him off’.

Dunphy: You’ve got it all wrong. The first thing I said was that Barcelona, as a team, were gone and that we won’t see that team again. 

The next thing I said, and we all agreed, was that Messi would be still — even if he’s lost 1o or 20% — that he would still be a great player. 

I also said that I hoped he’d come to the Premier League, maybe to Manchester City, as it would be a fantastic thing.

The third thing I said was that it wasn’t just Barcelona that were struggling, it was Real Madrid. And they are struggling. 

Now, to misrepresent that, as funny enough another RTÉ programme did this morning, this is what stops people talking candidly about football and having really interesting discussions — because some moron will say you said something you never said. But go on, finish your point. 

Cawley: Well I never said anything like that in fairness, but…

Dunphy: What were you going to say?

Cawley: Well I watched the show last week…

Dunphy: And what did I say about Messi? 

Cawley: You said he was finished. 

Dunphy: I didn’t. 

Cawley: Well you more or less said, the week before you had a package ready to go saying he was finished. 

Dunphy: No, we didn’t say that either. What we said was, the Barcelona team that we’ve all loved for the last seven or eight years is no more. It’s over. 

What we said about Messi was that he was diminished from what he had been as a great player and that was clear in both Juventus games. 

Now if you watched last night’s game, I don’t know if you did or not… 

Cawley: Of course I watched it. 

Dunphy: Or did you just watch the headlines…? 

Cawley: Eamon, I think you know me better than that. 

Dunphy: Well, what can I do when you’re saying you were watching a television programme and you don’t remember what you saw. 

Cawley: [laughs] We all remember, we all remember. 

Dunphy: What do you remember?

Cawley: Basically that we were watching the match… 

Dunphy: And I said Messi was finished…? Did I say Messi was finished? 

Cawley: To a point.

Dunphy: Okay, get the tape out and have a look.

Cawley: To a point, you said his best days are finished.

Damien O’Meara: Right lads, we could be here to eight o’clock.

Cawley: And he’s not finished, he’s far from finished and I think we’ve seen that regardless of Real Madrid and their deficiencies.

Dunphy: You should get a job on fucking Morning Ireland. They were saying the same thing. I didn’t say that.

Cawley: No, I’m just talking about Real Madrid.

Dunphy: No, you’re talking about something you alleged I said that I didn’t say. When you have a look at the tape you can apologise. There’s a difference between saying that Barcelona are gone as a force in European football…

Cawley: Which I would kind of agree with…

Dunphy: A bit late in the day, I was saying it in October. There’s a difference between that and saying Lionel Messi is finished. And, by the way, scoring two goals last night wouldn’t prove very much in the grand scheme of things.

Listen to the full exchange here:

RTĖ Sport / SoundCloud

Well we got the tape out [Facebook video clip to be more precise], and after the 3-0 aggregate defeat to Juve in the Champions League quarter-finals, Dunphy had said:

“No one will ever forget that team, and no one should ever forget that team. It’s only with regret and sadness do you mark a passing. You might see Messi playing in the Premier League playing for Manchester City, and what a thing that would be for the Premier League.

“But I don’t know how much he’s got in the tank. He’s been there since he was 14 and he’s been in the team since he’s 16. He’s 29 now. They’ve been on such emotional highs, you can only really go to that place so many times in your life, whatever the sport is.”

Back in October, during the half-time break of Barca’s 4-0 win over Manchester City, he had also proclaimed:

“I think the Barcelona project is in decline. I don’t think they are the team they were.[Andreas] Iniesta is 32, [Sergio] Busquets is having a really poor time. And I think Messi is beginning to show signs of decline.”

What do you make of the whole thing…?

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