Lionel Messi – The coronation of a king

Colum Motherway

Lionel Messi - World Cup

Any remaining doubt surrounding who the greatest footballer of all time is was extinguished on Sunday 22nd December 2022, when Lionel Messi finally lifted the World Cup trophy for deserved winners Argentina.  

In a thrilling final, Messi scored twice as Argentina beat France 4-2 on penalties following a 3-3 draw after extra time.  

Messi’s brace in the final made it seven goals for him in the tournament, only losing out on the Golden Boot award by one goal to Kylian Mbappé. 

Mbappé scored a hat-trick in the final and was unfortunate to be on the losing team.  

Messi led Argentina to the final by beating Australia, Netherlands and Croatia in the knockout stages, along with wins against Mexico and Poland in the group stage.  

The nation’s very first game of the tournament ended up being a shock 2-1 defeat to Saudi Arabia, which they quickly recovered from.  

Poland were the only side that Argentina faced who did not concede a goal to Lionel Messi in this World Cup.  

The World Cup was the one trophy that had aluded Messi in his illustrious career. 

Before Qatar, the closest he got to winning it was in 2014 when Argentina lost the final to Germany 1-0 after extra time.  

Messi, who was 27 at the time, scored four goals in the 2014 World Cup and was awarded the Golden Ball for being the best player at the tournament.  

The Qatar World Cup in 2022 was Messi’s fifth World Cup, in which he scored 13 goals spanning across 26 matches.  

At the age of 35, Messi took home the Golden Ball from Qatar as well as the World Cup.  

The seven time Ballon D’Or winner also has 13 goals and 14 assists in 20 matches so far this season for PSG.  

Luckily for Argentinians, Lionel Messi stated after the final that he will not be retiring from international football.  

There were rumours that Qatar 2022 would be Messi’s final World Cup but it seems like the magical winger will be sticking around the international stage for the next while with Argentina boss Lionel Scaloni saying that he believes Messi could play at the 2026 World Cup. 

Adding this World Cup to an already bursting full trophy cabinet consisting of 42 trophies makes Messi one title away from being the footballer with the joint most trophies in football history.  

His former teammate Dani Alves currently holds that status with 43 trophies for club and country.  

After Qatar 2022, Messi has now won 4 UEFA Champions Leagues, 10 La Ligas, 7 Copa del Reys, 8 Supercopa de Españas, 3 UEFA Super Cups, 3 FIFA Club World Cups, a FIFA World Youth Championship, a Summer Olympics title, a CONMEBOL-UEFA Cup of Champions, a Ligue 1 title, a Trophée des Champions and a FIFA World Cup.  

Lionel Messi is truly the greatest footballer of all time.  

Colum Motherway

Image Credit: Getty Images