Is the GOAT debate over? (Credit: Twitter)
Lionel Messi lifts his first World Cup on his last international game. It was a poetic end to perhaps the greatest career of all time in the sport. Messi had 7 Ballon d’Or trophies, 4 UEFA Champions League trophies, 10 La Liga titles, and numerous other silverware. But, one trophy which eluded him all throughout his illustrious career, was the FIFA World Cup. But not anymore!
Heading into the final match of the FIFA World Cup 2022, Lionel Messi had 5 goals and 3 assists in the tournament. However, going up against the mighty French team was not going to be an easy task. Argentina needed Messi to deliver and the maestro did not disappoint! He put up the best performance of the tournament and scored two goals in the final.
He had 7 goals in the 2022 World Cup and 13 goals in his 5 appearances in the tournament.
It’s been an absolute privilege to watch Lionel Messi for nearly 2 decades. Moment after moment of spellbinding, breathtakingly joyous football. He’s a gift from the footballing Gods. So pleased that he’s lifted the ultimate prize in our sport. Gracias y felicidades, campeón. pic.twitter.com/XTiZUcovLI
However, France also put up a great fight in the match. Kylian Mbappe scored a hat trick in the final, the first WC final hat trick since 1966. But, perhaps the entire world was praying for Messi’s win on December 18th. Their prayers were answered, as Argentina beat France in the tie-breaker (4-2) after the match was a 3-3 tie at the culmination of the scheduled time limit.
Before the World Cup began, a lot of fans wanted to witness a final between Argentina and Portugal. If Portugal had beaten Morocco in the quarterfinal, that may very well have happened. Soccer fans wanted to see Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in a World Cup final. It would have settled the GOAT debate nicely. Although Ronaldo could not make it to the finals, Lionel Messi certainly made the most of it.
🐐Lionel Messi’s Major Honours;
🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆 La Liga
🏆🏆🏆🏆 UEFA Champions League
🎖️🎖️🎖️🎖️🎖️🎖️🎖️ Ballon D’Or
🏆 Ligue 1
🏆 U-20 World Cup
🥇 Olympics Gold
🏆 Copa America
🏆 FIFA World Cup
🐐The Greatest of all Time-GOAT #FIFAWorldCup|#Messi𓃵 pic.twitter.com/X9mEA1kEht
Messi now has 2 more Ballon d’Or trophies than CR7 (5). Although he has one fewer Champions League trophy than Ronaldo, Messi has done enough in terms of club soccer with Barcelona and PSG. In total, the 35-year-old has 37 club soccer trophies in his career. It includes Champions Leagues, La Liga titles, UEFA Super Cups, and Club World Cups.
Cristiano Ronaldo, on the other hand, has 30 trophies in total on his resume. He has won numerous La Liga titles with Real Madrid, Premier League titles with Manchester United, and Serie A titles with Juventus. He also had 5 UCL trophies with Man United and Real Madrid. So both of them are quite similar in terms of the number of trophies they have won in their careers.
On the international stage, Messi won the Copa America title in with Argentina, while Ronaldo won the UEFA Euros in 2016 with Portugal. But neither had the World Cup trophy on their mantle. That changed after Lionel Messi won the 2022 edition of the World Cup. He also has more WC goals (13) than Ronaldo (8).
LIONEL MESSI HAS COMPLETED FOOTBALL 🐐 pic.twitter.com/IvDeNtckee
Fans can finally put the GOAT debate to rest. Messi has won every possible trophy in his career and has conquered the world! Although Ronaldo is one of the greatest of all time, he was never able to lead his national side to World Cup glory. At the age of 37, it seems improbable that he will stick around till the 2026 World Cup. So it looks Messi will go down as the GOAT.
Lionel Messi will return to his club side PSG after playing a month of unbelievable soccer in the World Cup. His PSG contract runs out in the summer of 2023. There are speculations that he will go back to his boyhood club Barcelona after his stint with the French side. But, recent reports have suggested he may sign for the Major League Soccer (MLS) side Inter Miami.
But, he has not made any concrete decisions on his future just yet. Cristiano Ronaldo, on the other hand, is rumored to be joining a Saudi club after his toxic exit from Manchester United. There is an obscene offer of $207 million per season from Al-Nassr. But, the Portuguese star wants to continue playing European soccer. But, there is no word on where he will end up going next.
However, he was recently in Spain, training at Real Madrid’s training facilities. His agent Jorge Mendes is still weighing the options before deciding his next move.
A senior MMA/Boxing/Football writer at Sportsmanor, Mukhar Ghosh is currently pursuing his bachelor’s degree in Law from Calcutta University. Since joining the website in late 2021 as a writer, he has evolved into a senior contributor. His love for the work is evident from the coverage of various sports.
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