Lionel Messi has FINALLY completed football after Argentina beat France in sensational World Cup final
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Paris Saint-Germain superstar Lionel Messi has ‘officially completed football’ after leading Argentina to the World Cup trophy in Qatar.
Messi fired Argentina into a first-half lead in the World Cup final on Sunday from the spot-kick after referee Szymon Marciniak awarded a controversial penalty.
France star Ousmane Dembele brought down Angel Di Maria with minimal contact inside the box, with VAR not overturning Marciniak’s penalty decision.
Messi, 35, stepped up for the penalty and sent France captain Hugo Lloris the wrong way with an effortless finish into the bottom right corner of the net.
Di Maria, who made a sensational impact in the first half against France, doubled Argentina’s lead before half-time with a fine finish past Lloris.
Messi played the ball into the path of Julian Alvarez, who played through Alexis Mac Allister before the Brighton midfielder played in a sublime low ball to Di Maria.
However, Kylian Mbappe lit up the international stage late in the second half with a sensational brace inside two minutes at the Lusail Stadium.
The PSG superstar stepped up for a spot-kick after Nicolas Otamendi brought down Randal Kolo Muani and Mbappe beat Emiliano Martinez to pull one back for France.
Only minutes later, Mbappe fired a superb volley past Martinez into the bottom corner of the net to blow open the World Cup contest.
Messi and Co fought on and made the breakthrough in the second half of extra-time after the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner completed his brace.
However, Mbappe continued his show-stealing performance by stepping up for his second penalty and completing his sensational World Cup hat-trick.
Mbappe saw his shot blocked by the arm of an Argentine player in the box, with the PSG forward converting the subsequent penalty past Martinez and cancelling out Messi’s second.
"He's just 5'7 but he rises above all others!" 🙌— ITV Football (@itvfootball) December 18, 2022
Lionel Messi bundles the ball over the line and may have just won the game for Argentina... 🇦🇷
What a game this has been!! 🤩#ITVFootball | #FIFAWorldCup pic.twitter.com/74lgdWlWib
ARGENTINA HAVE WON THE WORLD CUP!!— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) December 18, 2022
Look at these scenes. They've done it. #BBCWorldCup #FifaWorldCup pic.twitter.com/caFYhmWO0a
With a 3-3 scoreline at the end of extra-time, Argentina secured their third World Cup star with an emphatic win on penalties.
Messi, Paulo Dybala, Leandro Paredes and Gonzalo Montiel all converted from the spot-kick for Argentina.
However, Martinez denied Kingsley Coman and Aurelien Tchouameni missed from the spot-kick, with Muani and Mbappe being the only France players to successfully convert their penalties.
Messi can now add the World Cup trophy, which he missed out on in Argentina’s 2014 final defeat to Germany, to his trophy-laden cabinet as the Argentine is expected to retire from international football.
The Argentina captain broke his silverware drought with his country in 2021 after Lionel Scaloni’s men beat South American rivals Brazil in the Copa America.
The World Cup remained the only major trophy that had alluded Messi in his illustrious playing career, with Argentina entering the tournament in Qatar as one of the favourites.
“Messi completed football. This is football heritage,” one fan said.
Another Twitter user added: “I cannot believe Lionel Messi is a World Cup winner. He has completed football.”
While another fan posted: “Fair play to Messi, though. Completed football in the sense of it.”
“It’s fair to say that Messi completed football, World Cup winner [...],” a fourth fan tweeted.
And a fifth Twitter user wrote: “Messi has finally completed the final piece of the jigsaw.”
Featured Image Credit: ITV's Twitter/Alamy
Topics: Lionel Messi, Argentina, Football World Cup, Football, France