Messi’s enduring brilliance held off the excellent Kylian Mbappe and delivered the greatest World Cup final ever
Qatar delivered on its promise to host a great World Cup and there was no better way to end it. Argentina against France, Messi against Mbappe.
Messi's crowning moment
After 90 minutes, extra time and penalties, Messi had delivered a World Cup triumph for Argentina who beat France on penalties at the end of a wildly entertaining 3-3 draw.
In the end, it felt like a coronation, a crowning moment, for the greatest footballer of all time. For many, he has been the greatest but this World Cup trophy felt like the real defining achievement of an illustrious career.
The game itself was an emotional rollercoaster. A final that had everything. Argentina led 2-0 going into the break and looked to be heading for a comfortable win but Kylian Mbappe said no. He dragged the France team back by sheer force of will.
This final was supposed come down to a meeting of geniuses, to the Messi-Kylian Mbappe face-off. In some ways, that happened. Mbappe scored the first hat-trick in a World Cup final since Geoff Hurst in 1966 and still lost.
The reality is, this was a Lionel Messi story. He scored seven goals at Qatar 2022 and won the Golden Ball as the best player. He scored magnificent goals and created them as well. He did all this aged 35. This is not normal, but then, none of his play has been normal. He is a footballing genius.
For everything Messi had given to the sport, there was the notion that he deserved to win the World Cup. To follow in the footsteps of the eternal Argentine mythical figure of Diego Maradona but Messi has earned it. He has written his own story, one that will be told again and again for decades to come.
What next for Messi?
The Argentine attacking maestro will head back to Paris to continue the season with PSG. His goal will be to help the club win the Champions League for the first time in history. He has said he will not be retiring from the national team just yet. The good news is, we get to watch this genius go on for just a little while longer.