Unfazed, Messi put Argentina ahead again, but Mbappé quickly equaled Geoff Hurst’s record for most goals in a FIFA World Cup final with a penalty in the 118th minute.
Argentina won the subsequent penalty shootout 4-2 to capture their third World Cup title, 36 years after Diego Maradona lifted their last. Argentina set a new record in soccer ball world historyfor the most penalty shootout wins by a team in FIFA World Cup events (6).
Messi was exceptional throughout the tournament, establishing four further records:
World Cup Man of the Match awards by a single player – 11
The first player to assist in 5 separate World Cups
World Cup appearances as captain – 19
Most appearances in World Cup by a male player – 26
Messi, alongside Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal and Arjen Robben of the Netherlands, had each earned six Man of the Match awards in World Cup competitions before the start of this year’s World Cup.
Messi surged ahead of the pack after several spectacular performances, receiving Man of the Match honors in five games, including the finals.
Cristiano Ronaldo was named Man of the Match once after scoring in Portugal’s first match against Ghana.
This match saw Ronaldo make history by becoming the first player to score in five World Cups. Not to be outdone, Messi went on to become the first player to assist in five World Cups. His swift assist to Enzo Fernández secured Argentina’s much-needed 2-0 win against Mexico as they looked to rebound from their shocking setback to Saudi Arabia.
Argentina faced the Netherlands in the quarterfinals, where Messi again impressed by scoring and assisting. However, everything went awry when the Netherlands rallied in the last 18 minutes, courtesy of a Wout Weghorst brace. Messi scored Argentina’s first penalty shot in the subsequent penalty shootout, which they won 4-3.
Messi’s performance in Argentina’s semi-final win over Croatia was perhaps his best World Cup performance. He converted a first-half penalty before setting up Julián Alvarez for a world-class assist in the second. It was Messi’s 18th World Cup game as captain, surpassing Rafael Márquez’s (Mexico) record for most World Cup appearances as captain.
The Qatar edition was Messi’s fifth involvement in a World Cup tournament, tying him with Lothar Matthäus, Rafael Márquez, Antonio Carbajal, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Andrés Guardado for the most appearances in a FIFA World Cup tournament by a male player.
Messi made his maiden World Cup appearance in 2006 as a late substitute in Argentina’s group match against Serbia and Montenegro. He assisted Hernán Crespo before scoring one in a 6-0 win.
Taking a look back at Messi’s incredible career and his many many records
Some of his notable achievements include:
Most goals in a calendar year: In 2012, Messi scored 91 goals in 69 games, breaking the previous record of 85 goals set by Gerd Muller in 1972.
Most goals in a single season: In the 2011-2012 season, Messi scored 73 goals in 60 games, breaking the previous record of 67 goals set by Gerd Muller in 1972.
Most goals scored in a single Champions League season: In the 2011-2012 season, Messi scored 14 goals in the Champions League, breaking the previous record of 11 goals set by Ruud van Nistelrooy in 2002-2003.
Most goals scored in a single UEFA Champions League campaign: In the 2017-2018 season, Messi scored 16 goals in the Champions League, breaking the previous record of 15 goals set by Cristiano Ronaldo in 2013-2014.
Most goals scored for a single club: As of 2021, Messi has scored 757 goals for FC Barcelona, breaking the previous record of 746 goals set by Pele for Santos FC.
These are just a few of the many records that Lionel Messi has set during his career. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest soccer players of all time and his achievements on the pitch will be remembered for years to come.