Argentina finally lifted their third Cup. Mario Kempes’ 1978 World Cup and Diego Maradona’s 1986 World Cup are now joined by Leo Messi’s 2022 World Cup. After mourning the lost finals with his country (especially hard was that of 2014 World Cup at the Maracana despite being the Golden Ball winner) the no.10 now has his star with Argentina, completing his envied collection and matching the ‘Dios’.
The Messi of seven Ballon d’Ors, who won the Golden Boot six times with more than 700 goals and who won everything with Barcelona (10 LaLiga Santanders, seven Copa del Reys, four Champions Leagues…), was weighed down by the Argentine jersey for years. Criticisms were focused on a star who led Argentina to the World Cup glory after brushing it with his fingers too many times.
He got rid of the ‘thorn’ with the Copa America he lifted in Brazil in 2021 and flew to the top in Qatar encouraged by a country and a team that had more faith in him than ever. His tears after the triumph with Kun Aguero exemplify everything he went through to get to the finish line. How much he had longed and hoped for it.
At 35 years of age, the leader and nastier Leo propelled Argentina to the top with a Maradonian performance. He was at his prime in Qatar despite having lost some of his pace. He did not help out so much at the back and was lethal in the last meters. Scaloni gave him wings. Always decisive in the groups and in the crossings with his seven goals and three assists. He opened the scoring against Australia (round of 16), Croatia (semifinals) and France (final), he scored in all rounds until being crowned champion. He is the only player to ever score in every knockout round of the World Cup.