FIFA World Cup 2022: Magical Lionel Messi saves his best for last in Qatar | Football news

As if he didn’t make enough fairy tales, ArgentinaLionel Messi’s little genius has saved the potentially most magical script for his latest fifa world cup – with one line left to write.
With enormous pressure placed on him to match the great Diego Maradona and send the trophy back to Buenos Aires, Messi lit up the Qatar tournament while others in the superstar stratum – Neymar, Cristiano Ronaldo – disappointed and went home.
From Argentina’s debut to their semi-final victory against Croatia, Messi, towards the end of his career and in his fifth World Cup aged 35, was the tournament’s star player.

His match statistics speak for themselves: six appearances, five goals, three assists ahead of Sunday’s final against France.
Breaking so many records it’s hard to keep track, Messi beat Maradona’s tally of goals and World Cup appearances with Argentina, and will jump ahead of Lothar Matthaeus’ record 25 appearances in the tournament on Sunday.
Beyond the dazzling figures, however, it was Messi’s mesmerizing movement and joyous celebrations that electrified football fans around the world.
Spending long game passes at walking pace and at times barely caring to defend, Messi bided his time, using his low center of gravity, stunning change of pace and glittering runs with the ball glued to his feet to deadly effect.

2022 FIFA World Cup: Alvarez brace, Messi strike help Argentina beat Croatia 3-0 to advance to final

2022 FIFA World Cup: Alvarez brace, Messi strike help Argentina beat Croatia 3-0 to advance to final

It’s “a sprite that floats around the periphery of the game until the moment is right,” wrote British sports writer Jonathan Wilson. “You can brand a man; much harder to brand a ghost.”
After a shock start to Saudi Arabia’s shock, it was Messi who rallied the team – five victories followed.
His best goal was a magnificent low shot from outside the box against Mexico.
And pundits are still shaking their heads over his neat pass to Nahuel Molina for Argentina’s opening goal against the Netherlands in the quarter-finals. What made him extraordinary, and a candidate for one of the greatest assists of all time, is that Messi didn’t look up but found Molina with absurd perfection.
It was in that game that Messi cemented his love affair with Qatar with Argentine fans, who have sometimes compared him harshly in the past to Maradona’s outgoing personality, passion for his country and 1986 World Cup triumph .

After scoring a penalty to send the Argentine fans into a frenzy, the usual impeccable demeanor of Messi ran towards the Dutch bench covering his ears in a defiant gesture.
Then, after the game, he confronted a Dutch forward with a joke caught on camera: “What are you looking at, stupid?”
Though some pundits criticized him for lack of respect, Argentine fans were largely delighted by the introverted Messi’s Maradona-like flashes of defiance.
Some have tattooed the phrase.
“The match against the Netherlands was when his ‘inner Maradona’ finally came out. I am one. They are eternal. I am Argentina!” said one delighted fan Jorge Castellanos, who was at the game with a flag depicting both men arm in arm.
Despite much flattery, everyone knows that true immortal parity with Maradona – at least in the world’s biggest sports tournament – still depends on victory over the French.

Many non-Argentines have long had Argentina as their second team, hoping Messi will win the World Cup if their own nation fails to complete what would be a good story.
Messi left Argentina aged 13 to join Barcelona’s youth academy.
Despite fears of being too small, the new boy shone in the youth ranks before manager Frank Rijkaard gave him his first-team debut at the age of 16 in a friendly against Porto in 2003.
Messi became Barcelona’s all-time top scorer and cap maker with 672 goals in 778 games.
In one season, 2011-12, he broke the La Liga goalscoring record with 50 goals. In total, he won 35 trophies with Barcelona, ​​including 10 La Liga titles and four Champions League trophies, before moving to Paris St Germain last year.

Along the way, he won the Ballon d’Or seven times and won six FIFA Player of the Year awards.
For Argentina, he is the all-time leading scorer and last year led his nation to Copa America glory after a 28-year drought, including a string of heartbreaking final defeats.
All that is missing from Messi’s history is a World Cup.
But even if the unthinkable were to happen and Argentina were to lose, he seems to have won over a nation who now know Messi loved their shirt as much as Maradona, brought them wonderful moments over the years and simply couldn’t have tried harder. or getting close to lifting the World Cup.
Argentine journalist Sofia Martinez Mateos summed up the mood when she concluded an interview with Messi this week not with a question but with a speech on behalf of the nation.
“The final is coming and of course we all want to win, but I want to tell you that whatever the result, there is something that nobody can ever take away from you,” he told a visibly moved Messi.
“You have entered the heart of every Argentinean. Honestly, there is not a child without your shirt. You have marked all our lives … Bring it to your heart because it is more important than a World Cup and you have already won it, thank you Captain .”


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