By cy.Reporter, 20 December, 2022
Lionel Messi's journey with the Argentine National Team may have been the nightmare of the Argentinian superstar's career for many, however, in the last 18 months fate has reserved the Albiceleste captain's best ending, as after winning the Copa America and the Intercontinental came the culmination of a 20-year effort, with the conquest of the World Cup and the top of the football Olympus. cybetNews remembers that since the summer of 2016 when everything seemed to be over, Lionel Messi passed into football immortality for an entire nation and for the entire football planet.
Summer 2016. Argentina are in the final of a major tournament for the third year in a row and Lionel Messi is stunned to see Chile celebrate winning the Copa America. Three years, three lost finals with the captain of Albiceleste having conquered everything, but with his beloved Argentina unable to win even a single trophy... "He's a Loser", "he doesn't compare to Maradona" shouted the Argentina fans who they had pinned their dreams on the footballer who had perhaps the biggest burden in history to manage and he had let them down.
After the match Messi said: "I tried many times to be crowned champion with Argentina. I didn't make it, I couldn't do it. I think my end has come in the national team. The disappointment is great once again and I think it's better for everyone, for me and the many people who want a trophy. The sadness is great once again."
Could Lionel Messi's football story end like this? Of a child who from Rosario found himself in Spain and instead of wearing the colors of Spain, he consciously chose to take the difficult path and fit into the shoes of the great Diego Maradona? As it turned out yesterday…No! For the sake of football and the most beautiful football fairy tale we have seen so far...
Scaloni: "Messi is back"
Since the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil, Lionel Messi has led the Albiceleste to the World Cup final and two Copa América finals, but many expected Lionel to do everything on the pitch. For many, only the result counted, only the winning of a trophy. From the day Argentina was playing without Messi, the results were almost painful and everything showed that Argentina would have a very difficult time in the final phase of the 2018 World Cup. Then Lionel Scaloni asked the Argentine superstar to return to his beloved Argentina. And so it happened, Messi returned and once again led Argentina to the finals of the biggest football competition, as in the most important match that would decide the qualification against Ecuador, Lionel scored a hat-trick and gave Argentina a 3-1 victory .
Argentina's results before and after Messi typically reflect how important Messi was and is for the "Albiceleste". Without Messi, Argentina had just one win, four draws and three defeats in eight matches, having scored six goals and conceded 10! With his return, Argentina in 10 matches won six, drew once and lost three times with the goals being 13 in favor and 6 against!
Time for answers...
Brazil 2021. Argentina returns to the place where the drama of Messi and an entire country actually began. The Copa America is being hosted in Brazil and the Argentine is preparing to play one of his last major tournaments. It may be one of his last chances to redeem himself. Messi is having a sensational tournament. With a renewed national team, he "carries" the weight of himself and all his teammates and leads them to yet another final. It's no ordinary final though, it's the showpiece of the tournament against Brazil inside the legendary Maracana where Argentina lost the World title in 2014.
The captain of the team gathers all the players in a circle before the cross and tells them: "We already know what Argentina - Brazil means. I don't want to say anything tonight, just thank you guys. Thank you very much for these 45 days. I also told you on my birthday. We made a beautiful set and I really enjoyed it. It was 45 days that we traveled, ate, locked ourselves in hotels. It's been 45 days without seeing the families, guys.
Dibu (s.s. Emiliano Martinez) gave birth to a daughter and he could not see her, he could not hold her in his hands. Chino gave birth to a son and only saw him briefly. All this why? For this moment. Because we had a goal and we are very close to achieving it.
And you know which one is the best? How everything depends on us. That's why we're going to go out on the field and lift that trophy. We will take it back to Argentina to enjoy it with our family, friends and those who have always supported us.
And one last thing and with that I'll end. There are no coincidences guys. This tournament was supposed to be held in Argentina, but God wanted it to be held in Brazil so that we can conquer it in the Maracana and it will be more beautiful for us.
So, step out onto the court with confidence and composure. We're going to take home this trophy." The rest is history. With Angel Di Maria as the scorer, Argentina finally won the title. Argentina, led by Messi, reached the top of Latin America and celebrated an important title after almost 30 years!
But who would have imagined that this cup would be just the beginning for Lionel Messi and his company? A few months later, Argentina faced Italy at the legendary Wembley for the intercontinental final between the European and Latin American champions. With Lionel Messi as the star again, "Albiceleste" wins 3-0 and looks ready for the big goal, the World Cup...
The last chance...
Argentina appear at the World Cup in Qatar as one of the favorites for the tournament. Not because it has the best team, but because it has the best of them all. The entire football world is waiting for Lionel Messi to reach where he never could. And it's his last chance. However, defeat in the opener against Saudi Arabia poses from the outset very difficult puzzles, as now in Messi's last appearance, there is no other outcome but wins in the remaining games until the end of the tournament if Argentina are to hope for victory . After all, Lionel Messi does what not everyone can do. Against Mexico, he leads his team to victory with a goal and an assist, and in the last game he may lose on penalties, but Argentina wins 2-0 against Poland and advances to the knockout stage. In the round of 16, Argentina faced Australia and with a goal and an assist qualified for the round of 8. In the quarter-finals, with a goal and an assist, he led Argentina to the semi-finals, and against the Croatians, with a goal and an assist, he led his beloved country to the final for the second time of the organization. Against France and in the best ever final, Lionel Messi scored twice and on penalties Argentina celebrated winning the World Cup for the third time in their history.
The best of all
Now, Lionel Messi has become the most successful football player in the Argentina jersey, as from being called a loser, the Argentine responded with his goals and his record speaks for itself. World champion with Argentina's U-20 team, Olympian at the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008, Latin American Champion in 2021, champion in the Intercontinental Final and World Champion in 2022. In fact, the records he broke in this event are unique as: He is in top of World Cup participations, having played in 26 games, one more than Lothar Mathews, while he is also first in minutes played, surpassing Maldini.
Messi scored two goals against the French and became the first player in World Cup history to score in all knockout stages of the competition. He is first in the World Cups in contribution to goals (goals + assists) counting since 1966. Messi also won the prize of the most valuable player of the tournament. Thus, he became the first person to win this award twice. He overtook Pele on the list of top goalscorers in World Cup history as he reached 13.
However, Lionel Messi, beyond records, proved that where everything seems to be over, faith and perseverance even at the last moment can lead to results that will inspire generations to come and be in millions of children's rooms around the world, to children of all walks of life, how the top can be conquered even when everything seems to be against you.
It's enough to remember that you can fall 100 times but you have to get up 101 and maybe that's where the magic lies, which becomes even better when there is a ball and a role model for every kid who will dream from now on when playing football, how fairy tales often come true when it comes to playing ball... Lionel Messi!