Three months after winning the World Cup in Qatar, Lionel Messi and his teammates received a hero’s welcome against Panama on Thursday night.
Lionel Messi has expressed gratitude to the Argentine Football Association for renaming the national team’s training facility in his honor.
Messi, 35, guided his nation to victory in the World Cup last year. The forward was excellent in Qatar, scoring seven goals and providing three assists, including two in the final against France. In addition, he was awarded the Golden Ball as the tournament’s top player.
Argentina’s first game since the World Cup final was Thursday night in Buenos Aires, where they defeated Panama 2-0. The match was considered a homecoming for Lionel Scaloni’s team, and each player received a replica of the World Cup trophy.
Messi’s first game in Argentina since the tournament in Qatar, while he plays club football for Paris Saint-Germain in France, was on Thursday night. As a result, the Argentine Football Association was eager to express gratitude to their captain.
Saturday, Messi was notified of his latest honor, and he was visibly overcome by it. The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner commented on Instagram, “This is one of the greatest honors I’ve ever received; thank you so much.”
Messi tried to hold back the emotions as he was serenaded by thousands of supporters inside El Monumental prior to Argentina’s game against Panama. The veteran answered with a spectacular free kick, and Thiago Almada also scored.
First, it appeared that Messi would end his career without a single senior-level international accolade. The Paris Saint-Germain attacker lost the Copa America finals in 2007, 2015, and 2016 as well as the World Cup final in Brazil in 2014.
Messi’s disappointment was so great that he resigned from international football in 2016. Even if he was encouraged to continue playing for Argentina later that year, his terrible performance at the 2018 World Cup event in Russia indicated that his World Cup dreams were ended.
The appointment of Scaloni as manager, originally on a temporary basis, after that tournament gave Messi fresh optimism. The Copa America was won by Argentina in July 2021, the Finalissima in June 2022, and the World Cup five months later.
The World Cup victory of Argentina was dramatic. Messi’s squad took a commanding 2-0 lead before Kylian Mbappe’s late brace forced extra time. Following Messi’s goal to restore Argentina’s lead, Mbappe scored from the penalty spot to complete his hat trick.
Due to the heroics of Emiliano Martinez, Argentina prevailed on penalties, allowing Lionel Messi to complete his trophy collection. It also assisted the captain in fulfilling his destiny as the heir to Diego Maradona’s kingdom in Argentina. Maradona unfortunately passed away in 2020.
Messi is determined to continue playing for Argentina despite having won every aspect of the game. Scaloni’s squad will defend their Copa America crown in the summer of 2024, and Messi may even wish to participate in the 2022 World Cup. When the tournament in the United States, Canada, and Mexico concludes, he will be 39 years old.