FIFA World Cup 2022: Lionel Messi Puts The Scars Of 2014 Behind Him With 2022 Triumph
People are just relieved, as much as Lionel Messi and his teammates are, that the monkey is off his back, 6029 days after making his World Cup debut.
PTIUPDATED 19 Dec 2022 2:31 pm
Lionel Messi wanted it, football needed it. And the world just went with the flow. (More Football News)
As the ball fell asleep on his toe, all went to sleep relieved in the knowledge that his once-in-a-generation career will now include a gleaming FIFA World Cup trophy.
The manner in which congratulatory messages poured in from all over the world after Sunday's title triumph, and the way in which half of the world prayed for a Messi victory, in the lead-up to the 2022 World Cup final against reigning champions France, it seemed like he belonged to the whole world and not just Argentina.
But then, when it comes to Messi certain things defy logic, as well as physics. Like his left foot that makes the ball defy the laws of physics. Like his relationship with the world, which defies logic.
People are just relieved, as much as Messi and his teammates are, that the monkey is off his back, 6029 days after making his World Cup debut.
To realise his ultimate dream, Messi did not need to get Maradonised. The man from Roasrio did it in his own way, in his own method, employing ways that suit his game, adopting approaches that suit his persona, which is a far cry from the late great from the deadly slums of Buenos Aires.
After he made his strongest case yet to be considered football's greatest player of all time, his legions of fans all around the world stayed late into the night to rejoice, romanticise, discuss, analyse, watch, to talk about Messi. For, he has just inspired a team far from world beaters to a World Cup win.
"It's just crazy that it became a reality this way," Messi said.
"I craved for this so much. I knew God would bring this gift to me. I had the feeling that this was the one."
Kylian Mbappe was in no mood to make it easy for Messi, but it was the Argentine's night and his World Cup.
"It took so long, but here it is," Messi said.
"We suffered a lot, but we managed to do it."
Like the Diego Maradona-led batch of 1986, Messi's outfit was also not teaming with the stars. However, like Maradona had men like Jorge Burruchaga and Jorge Valdano to lean on in 1986, Messi was helped by the likes of Julián Álvarez, Emiliano Martínez and Enzo Fernández in his quest.
It was written in stars, they said, appropriately summing up Messi's biggest moment of glory in the greatest ever final of the tournament's 92-year history.
Football unites the world, so does Messi, and people the world over like him, love him, adore him.
Else how does one explain a late-night brawl outside a bar tucked away in the Indian capital's eastern corner, after excited fans of the Argentine went overboard.
Havans were organised, puja's were performed, cutouts and murals were put up on the roads of not just the working-class Buenos Aires, Cordoba and Rosario but also on the streets of Kolkata and the towns of Kerala.
If Messi is not loved by the majority, how else does one explain a group of Chinese travelling to Qatar, only to cheer on the 35-year-old Paris Saint-Germain superstar.
In the aftermath of the penalty shootout, in which the Argentines prevailed 4-2, after France rallied twice in the regulation and extra time, crackers were burst in places that were least expected to.
Whether at home, office or bars and cafes, on the day shouting at the top of one's voice and rooting for Messi was not seen as out of place.
Many from neighbouring Brazil, Argentina's fiercest rivals, had no qualms in admitting that this time they wanted Messi to win the trophy he so craved. Quite like Argentina, Brazil also lives and breathes football and the fans are extremely passionate about their national team.
Leading up to the final, Messi's No. 10 shirt saw an extraordinary demand across the world. It was either sold out or its supply was running low in many countries.
As Messi stepped out in his quest to create a fairytale World Cup swansong football lovers had no option but to admire the man who seems to have capabilities that are beyond human and join him in his pursuit.
At the Lusail Stadium, Messi held the trophy like he would his kids, before joining his teammates on the dais. Soaking in the celebrations, he shared an emotional embrace with his mother and kids, who joined him on the field.
So, after four unsuccessful attempts he finally got his hands on football's biggest prize, scoring seven goals en route to hoisting the trophy high into the Qatar night.
In the process, he became the first man to score in the last 16, quarterfinal, semifinals and final of the same edition and won the Golden ball for the second time, making it a fairytale ending.