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Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi scored twice in the 2022 World Cup Final to help Argentina win their thrid World Cup. (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images)

Lionel Messi is Officially the GOAT

Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi scored twice in the 2022 World Cup Final to help Argentina win their thrid World Cup. (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images)

Lionel Messi is Officially the GOAT

There was one thing that Lionel Messi had yet to win and that was the World Cup title. He has done that now while carrying Argentina to their third-ever World Cup championship. 

The debate over who the GOAT of football is and there are four legit candidates: Pelé, Diego Maradona, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Messi. Up until last summer, only Messi had not won a trophy at a major international tournament. He had an Olympic gold medal, but that is far less significant than the World Cups won by Pelé and Maradona or the Euro won by Ronaldo. 

That all changed when Messi led Argentina to the 2021 Copa America title. He may have scored just one goal in the knockout stages, but he still tied for the golden boot with four goals along with Luis Diaz. If it was not for a Kylian Mbappé hattrick in the final, Messi would have won the golden boot race at the 2022 World Cup with seven goals to solidify his GOAT status. However, Mbappé finished with eight goals.

For me, Pelé or Maradona was the GOAT heading into this World Cup in Qatar. The reason for that is that both have won the World Cup and at the end of the day that is by far the biggest tournament in all of sports. Pelé was just 17 years old when he won the first of his three World Cups, the most by any player. Maradona is an Argentine legend for leading them to the 1986 World Cup title, and if Messi were ever to surpass his icon then he would need to do the same.

As far as Ronaldo goes, he has a legendary career but really has hurt himself in the past few months with an awful attitude. He has been benched by both club and country and seems to be trying to save face at this point which is sad to see. 

Bring on Qatar. Messi put Argentina off to a good start scoring the opening goal against Saudi Arabia, but then the team collapsed and lost 2-1 against the second-worst team according to the FIFA rankings. Since then Argentina has had to play five finals en route to the 2022 World Cup Final, where a loss in any would have knocked them out. That is where Messi really stepped up. Over the next five matches, Messi scored in all but one of them and managed three assists.

In the final, it was once again the Messi show. The 35-year-old opened the scoring with a coolly taken penalty. France never had a chance of stopping Messi and Argentina. It seemed inevitable that this was finally his World Cup to win. However, France fought back from 2-0 down to send it to extra time. Messi stepped up again to score the go ahead goal for Argentina in extra time. Then he slipped the ball past Hugo Lloris in the penalty shootout to help win 4-2 in penalties.

With this World Cup trophy, the list of accolades that Messi has won is insane. He has one Copa America title after being a three-time runner-up, four UEFA Champions Leagues, three FIFA Club World Cup titles, ten La Liga titles, and a Ligue 1 title plus so many more. 

Those were just the trophies he won with his teams. His individual awards are just as impressive. Starting with a record seven Ballon d’Ors, the 2014 FIFA Golden Ball for the best player at the 2014 World Cup, and the 2009 FIFA Player of the Year award. 

There has been nothing that Messi has played for that he has yet to win. This 2022 World Cup title run caps off an iconic career. There is a chance that this was the final time that one Lionel Messi will suit up for Argentina and if so, what a way to go out. This penalty kick win for Argentina solidifies Messi as the single GOAT of the world’s most popular sport.


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