Lionel Messi smiled as fireworks went off and 80,000 people roared. The bisht, the cape worn by high-ranking officials and sheikhs, that the Emir of Qatar had just draped over him completely covered his Argentina soccer shirt. After a brief pause, he raised the World Cup, fulfilling a lifelong ambition. For every one of the honors, every one of the honors, the wealth, titles and flatware, there had been one stain on his vocation resume, and it was one he eradicated everlastingly on a mysterious World Cup night for Argentina.
Messi stated, “It’s anyone’s childhood dream.” I was fortunate to have accomplished everything in this career, including this one, which was missing. It’s absurd to observe how beautiful she is (the World Cup). She was so dear to me. She was getting closer; I had a vision that this would be the one.
The 35-year-old’s only goal on this patch of green in the Qatari desert was to win the much-awaited World Cup for Argentina. He did so with a virtuoso performance against the defending champions France in what turned out to be a final for the ages. After giving Argentina a 2-0 lead that they lost in the final 10 minutes, he gave them the lead in extra time and then converted his penalty to win the shootout.
The Argentine team, as well as the tens of thousands of Argentines who packed the frigid stadium, freely sobbed and robbed the man who has been their talisman for a generation. They also jumped, hugged, cried, and screamed. The boy from Rosario, the farm hub city 300 kilometers north of Buenos Aires, finally succeeded after five attempts and a record 26 World Cup finals matches to join Argentina’s other footballing deity, Diego Maradona, who won the championship in 1986.
Messi stated, “We suffer, but we already have it (the World Cup).” I couldn’t have asked for a better way to end my career; I thank God that he gave me everything.
When this Argentina team arrived in Qatar, some people referred to them as “Leo Messi and ten other guys.” That wasn’t helped much by their disappointing loss to Saudi Arabia in their first match.
He had returned to Qatar with the nation’s aspirations on his shoulders. When Argentina lost to Germany in the World Cup final eight years ago, Messi had appeared exhausted by the weight of expectation and had been muted, not magical.
This time, however, he wore it gently, apparently propelled by the urgency leaking from each voice in the stands. A remarkable career that has seen him voted world’s best player a record seven times culminated in this victory.
He has won three Club World Cups, three UEFA Super Cups, a Copa America, 11 league titles, four Champions League titles, and more. He now possesses the most sought-after of all.