Argentina’s bid for the 2022 World Cup (opens in new tab) glory will depend on one man above all others: Lionel Messi.
The 35-year-old has admitted this will be his last World Cup appearance, and thus his last chance to claim the coveted crown for his country.
Despite his advanced years, Messi remains an inspiring figure on and off the pitch for the Albiceleste.
With four goals to his name in Qatar so far, the Argentine great is only once behind tournament top scorer Kylian Mbappe in the Golden Boot race. (opens in new tab)
He also looks set to be one of the contenders for the coveted Ballon d’Or after providing groundbreaking goals and assists against Mexico, Australia and the Netherlands so far.
Messi has won stacks of individual awards throughout his illustrious career, including a record seven Ballon d’Ors, but has he won any World Cup trophies before?
Did Lionel Messi win the World Cup Golden Boot?
Messi has yet to win the World Cup Golden Boot. This year in Qatar, he has already equaled his league record of four goals.
This is Messi’s fifth World Cup appearance.
His first goal in 2006 saw him score one goal, while failing to find the net in five games as Argentina reached the quarter-finals in South Africa in 2010.
Messi scored four goals in 2014, all in the group stage as Argentina reached the final, losing 1-0 to Germany in extra time.
Only two players did better: Colombia’s Golden Boot winner James Rodriguez with six goals and Germany’s Thomas Muller with five.
Messi scored once in Russia 2018, against Nigeria in the group stage, but Argentina lost 4-3 to France in the last 16 despite two assists from their captain.
Did Lionel Messi win the Ballon d’Or of the World Cup?
The Ballon d’Or is awarded to the best player of the World Cup.
Messi won the World Cup Golden Ball once, in 2014, after leading Argentina to the final in Brazil.
The then-Barcelona star scored four goals to help his side reach the final, where they lost to the Germans.
At the end of the game, a distraught Messi was awarded the award after FIFA’s Technical Study Group voted him the best player of the tournament ahead of Dutchmen Thomas Muller and Germany’s Arjen Robben.
FIFA called Messi “a true captain and a true match winner” after announcing him as the winner and praised him for scoring four of Argentina’s six goals in the group stage before beating Angel DI Maria’s extra-time winner against Switzerland in the last 16 drafted.
“While the personal award may be a small reward for a second place medal, he can be justifiably proud of his achievements at this World Cup,” FIFA wrote on their website.
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