CNN

Now there can be no arguments. There should be no debate now.

In an incredibly, nerve-wracking way, Lionel Messi He finally got his hands on it World Cup And next to him, he confirmed his place in the pantheon of football greats Diego Maradona And Skin.

The final was as good as football. A match of the ages with a fairytale ending.

Messi and Kylian MbappeThe two best stars of the game went toe to toe World Cup Last in history. Football may be a team game, but this was a prizefight between two of the greatest players of all time.

Mbappe became only the second man in history to score a hat-trick in a World Cup final and won the Ballon d’Or – awarded to the tournament’s top scorer – but he was disappointing in his bid to defend the trophy alone. For France.

At just 23 years of age, Mbappé’s impressive performance further confirmed that he is the future of the sport. He has now scored four goals in World Cup finals, the most by any player in history, and is equal to Pele’s total of 12 World Cup goals. He has time to surpass Miroslav Klose, the all-time World Cup goalscorer at 16.

But for all the history Mbappé created on an intoxicating flood-lit night in Doha, this was Messi’s last. The Argentina captain wasn’t ready to hand over the torch just yet.

Lionel Messi kisses the FIFA World Cup trophy.

The 35-year-old has been consistently brilliant in this tournament, fueled by an inner belief that this trophy is his destiny, playing with style and determination, a glorious World Cup written in the stars.

Messi fell to his knees and buried his face in his hands after Gonzalo Montel was tipped in the winning penalty. The moment he always has My dream was finally here.

His teammates flocked to him, dropping to their knees to embrace the captain. They wanted to win this for him as their own.

They stood together and walked over to their fans to join in the celebration. It is estimated that around 40,000 Argentina fans traveled to Qatar and gave their support throughout the tournament.

With the Argentinian flag draped over their shoulders and tied around their waists, the players jumped in unison against a wall of white and blue jerseys in the main stand of Luzille Stadium.

They have persevered and endured their heartbreak since last winning the World Cup in 1986, but it was worth the wait.

Messi's teammates join him in celebrating him.

Messi ended his life at the Lusail Stadium three minutes in, picking the ball up in a pocket of space between the French midfield and defence, and instantly slotting the ball to the left for Angel De Maria.

The play led to an early chance – Messi rejoined the build-up and exchanged quick balls on the edge of the box – but a last-ditch save and linebacker’s flag denied Julian Alvarez a clear look.

It’s no secret that winning the World Cup with Argentina is Messi’s lifelong dream.

Although, at 35, Messi is no doubt waning his superhuman powers, there have still been plenty of moments at this World Cup with the absurd, magical brilliance fans are used to seeing. years.

His goals against Mexico and goals against the Netherlands and Croatia were his most memorable spells in Argentina and helped propel the team to the finals, giving the little magician one last chance to lift the coveted trophy.

Messi's teammates celebrated with him after scoring the opening goal.

In the 23rd minute, Ousmane Dembele’s foul made Di Maria into the penalty area, and Messi had the opportunity to further strengthen his name in history.

Messi then stepped up to take the spot-kick and became the only man to score in a team, round of 16, quarter-final, semi-final and a World Cup final, Opta said. Just when you thought there couldn’t be any more records for him to break, Messi found another one.

He is the second highest goalscorer in the finals and is the 26th World Cup player to have played in a World Cup match. His performance earned him the Golden Shoe as the best player of the tournament.

For all his amazing and ridiculous skills, one of the main parts of his game that Messi has struggled with over the years and has been lacking on big occasions is probably penalties.

That didn’t affect his confidence, but he stepped up and unceremoniously slotted the ball into the corner, sending Hugo Lloris the wrong way.

He also played in Argentina’s second half on a counter-attack where he shot to Julian Alvarez and Dimaria scored.

Even Messi joined Argentina’s defense and was picking on Randel Kolo Muani, who came on as a shock substitute for Didier Deschamps before the break.

Even the most ardent, optimistic Argentina fan couldn’t have dreamed that the first half was so good and straightforward – from Messi and his teammates.

The team that was impressed by Saudi Arabia in the opening group game looked unlikely to be this team – their attitude and heartless performance left many wondering if Argentina would even make it out of the group.

Messi is applauded by the crowd after scoring the penalty kick.

But as the tournament progressed, Argentina and Messi improved.

With every passing performance, with every moment of Messi’s magic, fans began to believe that the script had already been written, that the son of Rosario would finish the World Cup – he said it would be his last – in the grandest way imaginable. . But few could have predicted such a dramatic ending.

As the second half wore on, the Argentina fans in the stadium and the tens of millions watching around the world were increasingly convinced that this would indeed be a routine victory and the culmination of a lifelong dream.

As bright as Argentina were, France were just as disappointing. Per Opta, it was the first time since 1966 that statistics began being collected that a team failed to register a shot on goal in the final half.

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Fans in Argentina celebrate the victory of the World Cup

It was a historically poor performance from France and Mbappe. Until it doesn’t, that is.

France went 2-0 down within 90 seconds to end the game, with Mbappe striking twice in perhaps the most predictable way ever.

The first was a low free-kick which, despite getting a hand to him, was drilled into the bottom corner with enough power, and the second was a stunning volley finish after receiving a return pass from Marcus Thuram.

It was a cruel fate for Messi as he was responsible for the ball that equalized for France. After dragging his team to the brink of immortality, Messi’s mistake proved that he was indeed mortal.

Yet, much more was to come.

Messi scored his second after Lloris saved from Lautaro Martinez – this was Messi’s 98th goal in an Argentina shirt and is undoubtedly his biggest.

But still France and especially Mbappé are not done.

Messi secured the one trophy he missed in his life.

Paris Saint-Germain forward Montiel went into the penalty shoot-out in this dramatic finale after burying the second shot with his arm.

Messi and Mbappe produced one of the best tackles this sport has ever seen and deservedly scored their penalty, but Martinez’s heroics against Argentina ensured it was Messi who lifted the trophy.

Ever since he was old enough to kick a ball, Messi’s biggest ambition has been to win the World Cup with Argentina. It would never be straightforward, but through sheer force of will he finally made his life’s dream come true.

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