Argentina went down by a solitary goal to Germany in the summit clash, with Mario Gotze scoring the late extra time winner. Messi was handed the Golden Ball for Player of the Tournament (a decision many didn’t agree with). But for him the World Cup trophy is what really mattered, not the prize for being the best in the tournament, which many would argue, he really wasn’t in 2014.
Cut to 2022 and Messi finds himself once again within touching distance of doing what his childhood idol Diego Maradona did 36 years ago. Standing in his and Argentina’s way this time will be either France or surprise package Morocco.
Messi has already announced that the final on Sunday will be his last World Cup match for Argentina. It is literally now his last shot at glory and immortality.
Unlike 2014 though, Messi has found support when he really needed it. Like in the semi-final vs Croatia, where Julain Alvarez (who grew uo idolising Messi) scored twice and became Messi’s perfect ‘partner in crime’.
Regardless of whether Messi and Argentina win the World Cup this time or not, the little magician has already broken a number of records in Qatar.
TimesofIndia.com here takes a look at the World Cup records broken by Messi so far and the ones that he stands on the cusp of breaking:
1. Only player to both score and assist in four different World Cup matches (once in 2006, thrice in 2022)
2. Only player to score and assist in three different matches in a single edition of the World Cup, since 1966 (2022 edition in Qatar). Has a total of 8 World Cup assists so far to his name (2006-2022)
3. Oldest player (35) to score 5 goals in a single edition of the World Cup
4. Only player to get on the assists sheet in five different editions of the World Cup (2006-2022)
5. Tied with Germany’s Lothar Matthaus for a record 25 World Cup appearances. Will hold the solo record when he appears in the final on Sunday
6. One of only five players to score in four different editions of the World Cup. Cristiano Ronaldo holds the overall record (5). The other three who have scored in four different World Cups are: Pele, Uwe Seeler and Miroslav Klose
7. One of only six players to score in the Round of 16, quarter-finals and semi-finals, since the Round of 16 was introduced in the 1986 edition. The other five are: Salvatore Schillaci (1990); Roberto Baggio (1994); Hristo Stoichkov (1994); Davor Suker (1998); Wesley Sneijder (2010)
8. Most goals for Argentina ever in the World Cup, with 11. Went past the old record of 10 held by Gabriel Batistuta when he scored against Croatia in the first semi-final
9. Only the eighth player to reach the tally 11 World Cup goals. Is currently tied with Sandor Kocsis (Hungary) and Jurgen Klinsmann (Germany)
10. Joint leader for scoring or assisting in the most number of World Cup matches. Is tied with Brazil’s Ronaldo on 13
11. Joint leader for most assists in the knockout rounds. Tied with Pele on 6
12. Most number of appearances as team captain – 18 for Argentina
Lionel Messi at Qatar 2022:
Lionel Messi at the 2014 World Cup (last time Argentina reached the final):
Won the Golden Ball for Player of the Tournament