Lionel Messi’s once-in-a-generation career is complete. The Argentina superstar scored two goals and then another in a shootout as Argentina beat France to be crowned World Cup winners in Qatar.
They claimed their third title despite France's Kylian Mbappé scoring the first hat trick in a final in 56 years.
Now there’s no debate. Messi is definitively in the pantheon of soccer’s greatest-ever players, alongside Pelé - a record three-time World Cup champion from Brazil - and Diego Maradona, the late Argentinan great with whom Messi was so often compared.
Messi achieved what Maradona did in 1986 and dominated a World Cup for Argentina. The torch will one day pass to Mbappé, whose late goals lit up one of the most dramatic finals in the tournament's 92-year history and emulated Geoff Hurst's hat trick for England in 1966, but not just yet.
“Let's go, Argentina!” Messi roared into a microphone on the field in the post-match celebrations after playing in a record 26th World Cup match.
Messi was in scintillating form from the start, putting Argentina ahead from the penalty spot and playing a part in Angel Di Maria's goal that made it 2-0 after 36 minutes.
Mbappé, on the other hand, was anonymous until scoring two goals in a 97-second span - one a penalty, the other a volley from just inside the area - to take the game to extra time.
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