The magical Lionel Messi achieved his childhood dream and finally got his hands on the FIFA World Cup trophy as Argentina registered their third World Cup title. The Argentine maestro lifted the coveted trophy after defeating mighty France in 4-2 penalty shootout at Lusail Stadium on Sunday evening. The 35-year-old scored two goals in the stunning and chaotic final that had ended 3-3 after 120 minutes of gameplay. The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner then netted from spot-kick in the shoot-out as well. Following the iconic win, Lionel Messi addressed the retirement rumors around him.
Lionel Messi opens up on retirement
Ahead of the World Cup in Qatar, the 35-year-old had stated that it would his final appearance in the tournament. He stated the same moments after Argentina beat Croatia in the semi-finals last week.
However, moments after Messi ended his long wait for a World Cup trophy, he revealed that he would continue playing for Argentina.
Messi said: “It’s simply unbelievable. I knew that God was going to give me the Cup, I was sure — it was a big joy for us. I had this big dream for a long time, I wanted to close my career with a World Cup. I can’t ask more than this. No, I’m not going to retire from the national team. I want to keep playing as World Cup champions with the Argentina shirt.”
It was certainly a night to remember not only for the Argentine fans but also the football fanatics across the globe. The Final turned out to be one of the most thrilling matches in the FIFA World Cup. It was the blue and white outfit that were leading until the 80th minute, courtesy of first half strikes from Messi and Angel Di Maria.
However, Kylian Mbappe emerged with a brace in 81st and 82nd minute to level the scoreline. Going into the extra time, Messi once again gave his side the lead in the 108th minute. It was Mbappe who spoilt the party in the 118th minute to tie the game. Argentina managed to win the match 4-2 in the shoot out. Kingsley Coman had an attempt saved by Argentina goalkeeper Emi Martinez and Aurelien Tchouameni then missed for France, giving Gonzalo Montiel the opportunity to end it. He converted the penalty to the left and sparked wild celebrations.