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Lionel Messi Immortalizes GOAT Status In 2022 FIFA World Cup

By Jeff Stinger

Argentina delivered plenty of reasons to celebrate after Sunday’s victory over France. The game itself was nothing short of incredible and featured two of the best forwards in the sport. There were last-minute equalizers that shifted the game and, eventually, the penalty shootout of a lifetime. At the end of it all, Argentina secured its third World Cup title after over three decades of waiting. Lionel Messi finally settles the debate. He is the best player to grace the pitch. The Albiceleste further drew respect from other great names who came before him, as well as current elite players.

Lionel Messi’s GOAT status unlocked

A repertoire worthy of the GOAT title

The 35-year-old Argentina wizard eagerly anticipated his crowning glory, putting on the traditional Arab robe before finally lifting the World Cup. Messi achieved his dream. The only gaping hole in his decorated collection is now filled with the most prestigious title in the sport. It was a hard-fought battle but one we will find in history books for decades to come.

As of now, he adds the World Cup to seven Ballon d’Or titles, four Champions League titles, the recently-won Copa America trophy, ten La Liga titles with Barcelona, and a Ligue 1 crown in France with Paris Saint-Germain. But, the World Cup is the trophy that matters most. This was the one that Messi’s millions of fans will now headline in their argument that he is the greatest player of all time.

On par with Diego Maradona, if not better

Comparisons will never disappear from this sport, which adds another dimension to all the arguments between Messi, Ronaldo, and the other greats. However, no one can now deny that the man from Rosario, Argentina, belongs in the same discussion as Pele, and of course, Diego Maradona.

Maradona, who recently passed in 2020, is his legendary predecessor in the team’s number 10 shirt. The former Argentina coach had a solid case for being the best player the world has ever seen. But, the point of comparison was always his World Cup achievements in Mexico over three decades ago–a deed Messi did not have before Qatar. Nevertheless, it has now been removed and the PSG forward will always have a place on the list of the greatest.

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Not a walk in the park against a superb Mbappe

Lionel Messi had his fair share of World Cup heartache that dates back to Germany in 2006. The disappointment includes losing a final to Germany at Rio’s Maracana in 2014. He used the past results as fuel for his revenge in Qatar. The fact that this spectacular win at Lusail Stadium contained so much letdown before makes everything even sweeter.

And it was all concluded in the face of a brilliant 23-year-old Kylian Mbappe. The Frenchman has the talent to join Messi in any debate about the sport’s top gun in years to come. While they appeared to be on their way out for most of the game, Messi’s club teammate threatened to snatch everything away in the dying minutes of regulation. He did it again in extra time and almost scored a third World Cup title for France.

The debate ends

As Messi lifts the trophy, the debate ends for good: he is the greatest player of all time. No other player, not even Cristiano Ronaldo, has achieved what he has. The Argentine dominated at multiple levels of the game, and the only thing missing from his cabinet is this international piece.

Ronaldo departed the tournament much earlier, concealed in controversy, and with no awards or trophies to his name this time. Ronaldo has never scored in a World Cup knockout game, while Messi stepped up and scored five in this tournament alone. Ultimately, the captain surpassed them all and won at every level in an imposing manner. In the temple of soccer’s best, the five-foot-seven magician stands above them all.

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