Saturday, July 13, 2024

Lionel Messi breaks World Cup record in Argentina v France final

Lionel Messi is the holder of yet another World Cup record after he started the 2022 Qatar final between Argentina and France.

Messi is considered one of the best players in history and continues to break records on both the domestic and international stage at the age of 35.

The forward has won a record seven Ballon d’Or awards and lifted 11 league titles and four Champions Leagues during his remarkable career.

Messi made his 1,000th competitive appearance in the knockout stages in Qatar and broke another record when he started the 2022 final against defending champions France.

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Messi made his 26th World Cup appearance in the final at the Lusail Stadium, breaking the record previously held by Germany legend Lothar Matthaus for the most World Cup games by a male player.

Messi equalled and surpassed the Argentina record – which belonged to Diego Maradona – earlier in the competition, while he surpassed Rafa Marquez to become the player with the most World Cup appearances as captain.

Messi’s long-time rival Cristiano Ronaldo has played four fewer World Cup games than the Argentinian superstar.

Messi, who has scored five goals and made three assists during Argentina’s World Cup run, is one of only six men to play in five different World Cups.

Messi’s displays in Qatar have led many – including former Manchester United and England striker Wayne Rooney – to hail him as the greatest player of all time.

Rooney told The Times: ‘In 2012, I wrote the following on Twitter: “Messi is a joke. For me the best ever.”

‘On Wednesday morning, after watching him lead Argentina to the World Cup final with a masterclass against Croatia, I retweeted it with the words: “Nothing has changed.”

Most appearance at a men’s World Cup

  • Lionel Messi (26)
  • Lothar Matthaus (25)
  • Miroslav Klose (24)
  • Paolo Maldini (23)
  • Cristiano Ronaldo (22)
  • Diego Maradona, Uwe Seeler, Wladyslaw Zmuda (21)
  • Cafu, Philipp Lahm, Grzegorz Lato, Javier Mascherano, Bastian Schweinsteiger (20)

‘Some took that as a put-down to Cristiano Ronaldo but nothing could be further from the truth. I have the greatest respect for Cristiano and when people argue he is the greatest, I know where they are coming from and respect that opinion. But, for me, Messi is just different.

‘I played against him several times and it’s his ability to take and hold the ball, to control games, run at players, pass and score and be the difference.

‘Close up, you just can’t get near him. He is always in control. If he has the ball at his feet, he determines everything, your decision-making included. Being his opponent is a difficult place to be.’

France are bidding to become the first team in 60 years to retain the World Cup trophy, while Argentina are looking to lift the trophy for a third time in Messi’s final World Cup game.



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