Lionel Messi Settles The GOAT Debate Once And For All In The Fifa World Cup Final
For years, the debate surrounding the greatest footballer of the modern era has raged on. Is it Lionel Messi? Or is it Cristiano Ronaldo? On December 18th, inside the Lusail Iconic Stadium, the lArgentinian genius ended that debate once and for all when he put in a stunning performance to help the Albicelestes earn a penalty shootout victory over France. Heading into the showpiece fixture, oddschecker, which compares football odds and offers, made the South American champions the slight favourites. And they didn’t disappoint.
Messi opened the scoring with an early penalty before Angel Di Maria doubled their lead ten minutes before the half-time interval. The reigning World Cup holders – who were looking to become the first nation since Brazil some 60 years ago to successfully retain the trophy – looked dead and buried as the game approached its climax. But in Kylian Mbappe, Les Bleus have a superstar of their own.
The Paris Saint-Germain superstar pulled one back from the penalty spot and then, just 97 seconds later, drew his side level with a stunning volley that whizzed past keeper Emi Martinez and took the game to extra time.
Then, Messi looked to have won the tie for Argentina with his second of the game in the 108th minute, only for France to come roaring back once again. The brilliant Mbappe would level from the penalty spot with just three minutes remaining, sending the tie to penalties, where Martinez would make himself the hero. He saved Kingsley Coman’s penalty and forced a miss from Aurélien Tchouaméni to seal Argentina’s first World Cup triumph since the days of Diego Maradona.
A contrasting end to two glittering careers
Prior to the World Cup getting underway, both Messi and Ronaldo confirmed that the 2022 FIFA World Cup would be their last. But their final foray onto football’s grandest stage could not have been more contrasting.
While Ronaldo made headlines for his explosive interview with Piers Morgan and subsequent release from Manchester United, as well as being dropped for Portugal’s knockout games, Messi stole the show. The boy from Rosario scored in every stage of the tournament, racking up seven goals and three assists in the process. As well as that, he became the first player in the history of the tournament to win the Golden Ball award – awarded to the best player at the tournament – more than once.
But Messi isn’t the greatest of his era. No, he’s much more than that. This victory puts him on top of the pile, ahead of Pele and his iconic compatriot Diego Maradona. The little magician will forever be known as the greatest football player of all time.