Lionel Messi has established himself as the real greatest footballer of all time after surpassing other players of his age to score five goals in a single World Cup.
Messi has successfully sent his country into the World Cup final following his opening goal and crucial assist which has extended his lead in the most man-of-the-match awards at World Cups to four.
The 35-year-old PSG star has now become Argentina’s all-time top goal scorer at the Qatar World Cup finals, after scoring a penalty in the first half of Tuesday’s semifinal clash against Croatia.
Lionel Messi has also broken Gabriel Batistuta’s previous ten-goal record, which he scored at the 1994, 1998, and 2002 FIFA World Cups.
The former Barcelona icon equaled Batistuta’s goal mark of 10 when he scored from the penalty spot in Argentina’s tough quarterfinal clash with the Netherlands, which they eventually won on penalties after a 2-2 draw.
No man has more World Cup appearances than the seven-time Ballon d’Or holder, Messi in this era.
Lionel Messi’s start against Croatia means he is now level with Lothar Matthaus for most male appearances at the World Cup.
The match against Croatia marked his 25th World Cup appearance which draws Messi to equal 1990 winner Matthaus and means no male player has turned out more times in World Cup history.
Lionel Messi is Argentina’s all-time leading goal scorer with 94 goals in 169 appearances for the national team since he made his debut in 2005. While Batistuta saw the back of the net 54 times in 78 matches for Argentina.
Argentina locked horns with Croatia in a crucial semifinal match on Tuesday, December 13, which they won 3-0 to advance into the final of the World Cup tournament.
Meanwhile, the 35-year-old Messi put Argentina in the lead, scoring a penalty called against Croatian goalie Dominik Livaković in the 34th minute.
Messi fired the penalty kick straight into the back of the net to help Argentina take an early 1-0 lead before Argentina’s Julian Alvarez added a goal of his own five minutes late.
Julian Alvarez sealed the 3-0 victory for Argentina in the 69th minute of the second half after converting a fine assist from the seven-time Ballon d’Or holder, Messi.
Messi is now the oldest player to score five goals at a single World Cup tournament, with three of the goals being penalties and he’s now level with France’s Kylian Mbappe in the pursuit of the Golden Boot.
The 35-year-old PSG forward’s opener in Argentina’s 2-1 win over Australia in the round of 16 saw him surpass Diego Maradona and Guillermo Stabile’s World Cup goal record of eight.
Lionel Messi’s 11 goals also placed him in the sixth position in the most goals in men’s World Cup history, staying behind Miroslav Klose (16), Brazil’s Ronaldo (15), Gerd Muller (14), Just Fontaine (13), and Pele (12).
Lionel Messi made history when Argentina beat Brazil in their backyard to clinch the Copa America at the Maracana Stadium in 2021.
The Copa America is his first-ever major trophy on the international stage and since Argentina has advanced into the final of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Messi will no doubt give it his all to add the 2022 Qatar World Cup trophy to his glittering career achievement.
Argentina will proceed to the World Cup finals to play the winner of the Morocco Vs France match slated for 20:00 on Wednesday, December 14.
The two losing countries, Croatia and whoever loses today’s semifinal round between France and Morocco will face off in the third-place match on Saturday, December 17.
The 2022 Qatar World Cup final match is scheduled to hold on Sunday, December 18.