Maluma supports Lionel Messi at the World Cup: ‘He deserves it’

Colombian sensation Maluma reaffirms his South American pride at this year’s World Cup, cheering for Argentina – and especially the team’s captain – all the time.

“I’m close to Lionel Messi… We’re friends,” Maluma told Billboard of the 35-year-old soccer superstar, whose team advanced to Sunday’s final with a win over Croatia on Tuesday. “And he really deserved to win the World Cup. For me he is one of the greatest footballers in history [of the sport] … And the entire Argentine team deserves to win the World Cup too.”

Maluma, 28, has no qualms about playing the favourite, although his World Cup anthem “Tukoh Taka” – also featuring Queens rapper Nicki Minaj and Lebanese singer Myriam Fares – has united nations under one groove for this year’s event.

Lionel Messi and the Argentine team at Tuesday's World Cup.
Lionel Messi (second left) and Argentina advanced to the World Cup final on Tuesday with a 3-0 win over Croatia.
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“‘Tukoh Taka’ came into my life at a beautiful moment,” said Maluma, who performed the song during last month’s FIFA Fan Festival celebrating the World Cup. “I really wanted to go to Qatar, man. I really wanted to represent my culture because you know Colombia, the Colombian soccer team, couldn’t make it to the World Cup. So for me it was very important to go there and make that impact because my team couldn’t make it.”

Maluma also performed “Tukoh Taka” in a medley with his Latin No. 1 hit “Junio” on Tuesday night’s finale of “The Voice.” “It’s just still growing like crazy. The numbers are exploding like crazy,” he said of the track’s global streams and airplay. “It’s a big, big, big song.”

Maluma performed at the FIFA Fan Festival in Qatar last month.
Maluma performed at the FIFA Fan Festival in Qatar last month to celebrate the World Cup.
Getty Images
In addition to his screen debut in Marry Me, Maluma launched his own clothing line and mezcal brand in 2022.
FIFA via Getty Images

It continues in a big year for Maluma, which began with his big screen debut opposite Jennifer Lopez in Marry Me and has continued with the launch of his own clothing line, Royalty by Maluma, as well as his own mezcal brand, Contraluz. The star also headlined the inaugural LA3C festival in Los Angeles this past weekend.

“I’m really enjoying this moment in my life and career,” he said. Maluma supports Lionel Messi at the World Cup: ‘He deserves it’

Emma Bowman

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