Tennis legend Rafael Nadal has admitted that he was in tears as Lionel Messi motivated Argentina to win the 2022 World Cup.
The 36-year-old Nadal and 35-year-old PSG star Lionel Messi both have a huge fondness for each other and the tennis maestro initially named Argentina as one of the candidates for the 2022 World Cup title.
Rafael Nadal, before the Qatar World Cup tournament, revealed that Lionel Messi gave him some heartbreaking moments since he is a Real Madrid fan but added he has nothing but a high level of reverence and admiration for the Argentine football legend.
Meanwhile, last Sunday, December 18 saw Argentina defeat the defending World Cup champions France in one of the most thrilling final clashes ever and won the FIFA World Cup for the third time, after 1978 and 1986.
The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi solidified his status as arguably the greatest footballer of all time as he netted twice against France in the World Cup final.
While the South American team led 2-0 and was on its way to an easy victory, France’s golden boy Kylian Mbappe retaliated with a brace in quick succession to push the match into extra time.
Thereafter, Argentina extended its lead when Lionel Messi scored the third goal in the 108th minute.
However, Kylian Mbappe rescued France as he completed his hat trick in the 118th minute before Argentina eventually won the match 4-2 on penalties.
Speaking about the thrilling World Cup final to the Spanish newspaper Diario AS recently, Rafael Nadal said he was glad to see Messi hoist the only trophy that was missing from his collections.
The Spaniard tennis legend revealed he even teared up while watching one of the greatest footballers accomplish his dream after having suffered so much for it.
Nadal said: “That someone so great reaches the culmination with a title that was missing, of this caliber, with all that it means for Argentina, it seemed fair to me, I enjoyed it and I was moved.”
“Without supporting Argentina, when Messi scored the third goal, tears came to my eyes. But because of the emotion of seeing someone so great achieve what they were missing and someone who had suffered so much to achieve it.”
“I enjoyed the final, especially from minute 70 onward, which was spectacular. Before it seemed that everything was very easy, controlled for Argentina.”
Both Lionel Messi and Rafael Nadal have enjoyed tremendous trophy-laden careers at the top of their respective fields.
Nadal has been ranked world No. 1 for 209 weeks before being ranked world No. 2 in singles by the Association of Tennis Professionals.
He has finished as the year-end No. 1 five times.
The 36-year-old Nadal has won a record 22 Grand Slam men’s singles titles, including a record 14 French Open titles.
He has also won 92 ATP singles titles, including 36 Masters titles, with 63 of these on clay courts.
The 36-year-old Spaniard is one of the only two men to complete the Career Golden Slam in singles.
Nadal’s 81 consecutive triumphs on clay is the longest single-surface win streak in the Open Era.
However, time is not on both Messi and Nadal’s side as they weigh up on when to call it quits following their current age.
It remains to be seen how much longer Nadal and Messi will continue, with the Argentine contemplating on whether to feature in the next World Cup and the tennis icon having previously admitted he was close to retirement during his injury crises last year.