One of the greatest players ever to enter the football pitch, Lionel Messi, had a chance in 2014 to win the World Cup but was defeated by Philipp Lahm’s Germany in the finals. Fast forward 8 years, Messi is once again in the final of the World Cup and is about to play for the most coveted football trophy for the second time.
Messi is currently 35 years old but he is still ageing like fine wine. He has the joint-most goals (5) and the highest number of assists (3) in this FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. The Argentine magician has already announced that this will be his last World Cup. What a final ending to his glorious career has been set up! It will be like a date with destiny for Messi in the final on Sunday.
The former Barcelona legend and the current PSG star has won everything on offer at the club and country levels, only the World Cup has evaded him over the years. If he finishes his international career with the World Cup in his hands, it will be a bidding farewell to one of the greats.
Lionel Messi set to end his World Cup journey by playing in this final on Sunday
Argentina beat Croatia by 3-0 in the semi-final courtesy of the brilliance of Messi and Alvarez. After the match, Messi told reporters that he would end his World Cup journey by playing in the final on 18th December 2022.
Lionel Messi said, via Marca: “I am proud to be able to finish my World Cup journey playing this final. What I’m experiencing is exciting. Surely Sunday will be my last game in a World Cup. It will be many years before the next one (2026) and I don’t think I’ll be able to make it. So I hope I can finish in the best way.”
“I’m enjoying it all very much. I feel good. I feel strong to face every game. We have been making a big sacrifice. The last game we played was with an extension that was not easy at all. We were tired, but the group got strength from where it doesn’t have to give an extra plus. We played a very serious game. We knew it was going to be the match it was.”
He further added: “We prepared the match very well. We knew they were going to have the ball, because they have good players in the middle, but we were going to have our chance, because they get messy quickly. We prepared very well for the match. I’m very happy. Throughout this World Cup I’ve been having a lot of fun and, luckily, I was able to help the group to get things done.”
“This group, beyond the group strength it has, is very intelligent. They know how to read the moments of the match. Scaloni had already said it. It is a very intelligent group, that knows how to suffer when they have to suffer, that knows how to have the ball when they have to have it, when they have to press, to retreat, they know how to read the matches”.
“And we have a very good coaching staff that leaves nothing to chance, that lets you know every detail of every match and that is a great help for us. At no time did we feel lost on the pitch, we know what we have to do in every game. We knew the match was going to be this way. Croatia has a lot of possession, but we also knew that it could be a strength of ours when we recovered. They are very messy and leave a lot of spaces.”
Argentina suffered a shock defeat in their first match in this World Cup. They lost 1-2 to Saudi Arabia, but they turned their fortunes around and are now in the final. Messi said: “The first match was a very hard blow for us, because we were coming from 36 matches without losing and to start the World Cup like this, with a rival that we thought we could win it, was a very hard test for us and for this group. But the group once again showed how strong it is, taking each game forward.”
“It’s very difficult what we did, because they were all finals, with the great wear and tear of playing every game as a final. We are aware that if we didn’t win it was complicated. We played five finals, we were able to win all five and hopefully the next one will be like this. We were confident that we were going to win, because we know what we are as a group and as a team. It helped us to grow even more in the championship and as a group.”
A fairytale finish is waiting for the little magician on Sunday!
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