NEWS Lionel Messi cements his place among greats after winning epic duel with Kylian Mbappe

Lionel Messi cements his place among greats after winning epic duel with Kylian Mbappe


Now there is no debate. There should be no debate now.

In the most dramatic and tense fashion imaginable, Lionel Messi finally won the World Cup and in so doing cemented his place in the pantheon of football superstars alongside Diego Maradona and Pele position in.

The final is as exciting as a football game. A race of ages with a fairytale ending.

Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe, the two superstars of this match go head-to-head in arguably the greatest World Cup final in history. Football may be a team game, but this is a prize money battle between two players who will be remembered as all-time greats.

Mbappe scored a remarkable hat-trick which made him just the second man in history to do so in a World Cup final and won the Ballon d’Or – awarded to the tournament’s top scorer – but he is defending the title single-handedly The trophy effort fell short for France.

Mbappe’s prodigious performances at the young age of 23 have further confirmed his status as the future of the sport. He has now scored 4 goals in World Cup finals, the most of any player in history, and he is tied with Pele for total World Cup goals. He has time to overtake all-time World Cup goalscorer Miroslav Klose at 16.

But while Mbappe made history with an intoxicating floodlit night in Doha, it was Messi’s final. The Argentina captain is not ready to hand over the torch.

The 35-year-old was brilliant throughout the game, displaying steely grit and determination born of an innate belief that this trophy was his destiny, a brilliance written in the stars World Cup farewell.

Messi dropped to his knees and buried his face in his hands after Gonzalo Montiel scored the winning penalty.the moment he’s been there The dream has finally come.

His teammates flocked to him, knelt down and hugged their captain. They want to win this game for him as much as they want to win it for themselves.

Together they stood up and walked towards their adoring fans to join in the festivities. An estimated 40,000 Argentinian fans traveled to Qatar and cheered throughout the match.

The players draped the Argentine flag on their shoulders, tied it around their waists, and jumped in sync with the white and blue jersey wall in the main stand of the Lusail Stadium.

They will have to be patient and endure heartbreak since the last time they won the World Cup in 1986, but the wait will be worth it.

Messi's teammates celebrate with him.

At the Lusail Stadium, Messi came alive within three minutes, picking up the ball in the gap between the French midfielder and the defence, and instantly deflecting it into the path of Angel Di Maria.

That led to the first chance of the game – Messi was also involved in the attack again, with a quick pass on the edge of the box – but the defense and the linesman’s flag at the end prevented Julian Alvarez’s clean.

As we all know, winning the World Cup with Argentina has always been Messi’s lifelong dream, almost obsessed.

While there’s no doubt that at 35, Messi is slowing down the rate at which his near-superhuman strength begins to wane, there are still moments of absurd, magical brilliance that fans have grown accustomed to seeing at this World Cup. year.

His goals against Mexico and assists against Holland and Croatia were certainly among his most memorable in an Argentina shirt, helping the team reach the final and giving the little magician one last chance to win him The most coveted trophy.

Messi's teammates celebrate with him after scoring.

Messi had the chance to further cement his history with another career-defining moment after a clumsy foul by Ousmane Dembélé brought Di María inside the box in the 23rd minute.

Messi then stepped up to take the penalty and became the only player to score in the group stage, round of 16, quarter-finals, semi-finals and final, according to Opta. Just when you thought he had no more records to break, Messi found another.

He is also the second-oldest player to score in the final, his 26th World Cup appearance and no male player has played so many World Cup games. His performance also earned him the Golden Boot, the tournament’s best player award.

For all his remarkable and ridiculous ability, penalties are perhaps a major part of the game Messi has struggled with for years, blundering multiple times on big occasions.

It had no effect on his confidence, however, as he stepped forward and carelessly rolled the ball into the corner, sending Hugo Lloris the wrong way.

He was also instrumental in Argentina’s fine second game, sparking a counter-attack, with Di Maria delivering a delightful little touch to Julian Alvarez from the corner for a goal.

Messi even joined in the Argentine’s defensive duties, heading back and picking at the pocket of Randall Kolo-Mouani, who was shockingly substituted by Didier Deschamps just before half-time.

Even the most ardent and optimistic Argentine fans couldn’t have dreamed of a first half as spectacular – and immediate – as Messi and his team-mates were.

It seemed impossible that this was the same team that was beaten by Saudi Arabia in their opening group game – a performance so devoid of character and heart that it left many wondering if Argentina would make it out of the group stage.

Messi received compliments from the crowd after scoring the penalty.

But as the game progressed, both Argentina and Messi improved.

With every pass, every moment of Messi magic, fans began to believe that the script had been written and that the boy from Rosario would end his World Cup career – which he said would be his last – — in the greatest way imaginable. Few, however, could have predicted such a thrilling ending.

As the second half progresses, the Argentine fans in the stadium, and tens of millions of spectators around the world, will become increasingly convinced that this is indeed a routine victory, the culmination of a lifelong dream.

However, as brilliant as Argentina were, France were equally disappointing. According to Opta, it was the first time since statistics began to be compiled in 1966 that a team did not take a shot in the first half of a final.

Stefano Pozebon Argentina World Cup

Argentina fans splash journalists as they celebrate World Cup win

It was the worst performance in the history of France and Mbappe. Until it’s not, that’s it.

In an incredible 90 seconds, France leveled from 2-0 down and, in perhaps the most predictable turn of events ever, Mbappe scored twice.

The first was a low penalty which, despite a pass from Emi Martinez, was just strong enough to get into the corner, and the second was a volley from Marcus Thuram’s return pass.

It was a cruel twist of fate for Messi as he was responsible for conceding the goal that led to France’s equalizer. After dragging his team to the brink of immortality, Messi’s blunder proved that he is indeed mortal.

However, there is more to it.

Messi got his chance, scoring his second after Lloris saved from Lautaro Martinez’s shot – Messi’s 98th in an Argentina shirt The ball, without a doubt, is his biggest goal to date.

But France, and more specifically Mbappe, is not done yet.

Messi won a trophy that he never had in his career.

The Paris Saint-Germain striker stepped up after Montiel blocked his arm and buried his second penalty, taking what was a very good final to the penalty shootout.

It was only fitting that Messi and Mbappe both scored penalties after one of the sport’s greatest duels in history, but more heroics from Martinez in the Argentine goal ensured It was Messi who lifted the trophy.

From the moment he was able to play, Messi’s biggest wish was to win the World Cup with Argentina. It’s never going to be straightforward, but through sheer force of will, he finally achieves a lifelong dream.

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