Lionel Messi wins the Ballon d’Or

Lionel Messi celebrates Argentina’s title. (Martin Meissner/AP)

The crowd crammed into the Lusail Stadium was dominated by Argentina fans on Sunday, along with many otherwise neutral supporters who threw their weight behind The Albiceleste hoping to see footballing great Lionel Messi finally lift the World Cup trophy.

They were not disappointed.

Sunday’s game in Qatar ended in glory for Messi and went down as the highlight of his extraordinary career.

Messi opened the scoring with a first-half penalty, making history as the first player to score at each stage of the tournament.

He scored again in the second period of extra time, supporting a shocked Argentina side who were still reeling from France’s flashback.

And when all the pressure was on the 35-year-old in a penalty shoot-out, the exhausted veteran coolly dropped the ball into the back of the net.

Soon after, the Argentina talisman was celebrating with his teammates and holding up a World Cup trophy that hinted at him throughout a busy career.

The sublime performance in the final propelled Messi into the position of favorite for the Ballon d’Or award, which is given to the tournament’s best player.

It’s hard to imagine a better way to cap off the World Cup career of a man many consider the greatest of all time.


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