Argentina has been crowned World champions for the third time, with Messi playing an inspiring role to lead his nation to world cup victory after a pulsating penalty shootout wins over France in Qatar on Sunday.
In a match that was billed as a clash between Messi and Mbappe, it very much lived up to its pre-match hype as both stars took turns to show their brilliance and try to steer their team to glory.
It was Messi that drew first blood, by converting from the spot in the 23rd minute after Ousmane Dembele tripped Angel Di Maria, and then Di Maria added a second, just over 10 minutes to halftime when he converted after a quick break which was started by Messi.
But France came storming back late in the second half when Randal Kolo Muani’s pace was too much for Nicolas Otamendi and a lifeline was handed to the French with a penalty awarded. Indeed it was Kylian Mbappe who stepped up to take it, to bring France back into the match and he went on to create history later on in the match by becoming only the second player to score a hattrick in the world cup final after he scored a sensational second goal to equalise in regulation time, before netting a second penalty to make it 3-3 after Messi had given Argentina the lead for the second time.
The match was then to be decided by penalties with Emi Martinez saving from Kingsley Coman and Aurelien Tchouameni placing his shot his spot kick wide. The Argentines on the other hand successfully converted all four of penalties, with Messi leading the charge in the shootout to emerge world champions.
In addition to winning the world cup for the first time, it was to be a record-breaking evening for Messi as he became the holder of the most appearances at the world cup, with 26 appearances, surpassing the record that was formerly held by Lothar Mathaus who made 25 world cup appearances for Germany between 1982 and 1998.
This will be remembered as Messi’s tournament as he has been the driving force behind Argentina, scoring in every match except against Poland and giving amazing assists for Molina and Julian Alvarez respectively, it is only fitting that he ended up winning the Golden Ball and the much-coveted world cup trophy.