Lionel Messi came to Qatar chasing history and a chance to be the goat. After beating Croatia 3-0 in the World Cup semi-finals, Messi’s dream is still alive.
Lionel Messi arrived in Doha three weeks ago determined to win the World Cup. He walked off the field at Lusail Stadium outside the Qatari capital on Tuesday with that dream still intact.
Argentina’s 3-0 victory over Croatia in the World Cup semi-finals, led by the enchanting Messi who scored a goal and added an assist. The victory rocked the Brazilian national team in the final on Sunday. The winning team will play Wednesday’s semi-final match between Morocco and defending champions France.
While I didn’t enjoy the odd post-match atmosphere between the Argentine and Dutch players after the fiery quarter-final match that Albiceleste won on penalties, it did at least show that Messi is a leader and someone who will stand up for his teammates. In other words, he has become more like Argentine idol Diego Maradona off the field than anything he does with the ball.
World Cup: Is Lionel Messi better than Diego Maradona?
Against Croatia, Messi wanted the team to succeed. He mentored another great Argentinian: Diego Maradona.
Maradona never criticized his teammates. Instead, raise them. Messi has always been the good guy too, but he seems to have more affinity for his club, Barcelona and now PSG, than the national team. It all seems change After the World Cup.
Those who argue that Messi is really the goat have never seen Maradona play or Pele play. Maradona and Pele, whichever order you want to put them in, are already etched in stone on the Mount Rushmore of international football. Messi, who lived in Maradona’s shadow, could add his face to this coming Sunday.
Maradona led Argentina to win the World Cup in 1986, the last time that country won the title. For nearly two decades, Messi has been trying to emulate this feat. Each time, he fell short. In 2014, Argentina reached the final, but lost to Germany.
Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo were the best players of the last two decades. They are talented athletes who have played on great teams. Neither of them has lifted the World Cup despite their longevity.
Maradona died two years ago. Even after he retired from playing, he was still the biggest supporter of the national team. He would have been shouting loudly on Tuesday and cheering for Messi if he had been present at Lusail Stadium.
Maradona and Messi are similar in many ways on the field. Maradona is the goat. Only Pele can compete with him. Messi is a great player. However, he needs to win this World Cup in order to be considered the GOAT. If not, he would still be a superstar, but not the greatest of all.
This will probably be the final World Cup for Messi. It has been haunting history for a very long time. Is it goat? It depends who you ask. For me and now, Maradona is the goat. Messi can change everything that comes Sunday.