Captained by one of the greatest players of all time in Lionel Messi, it’s no surprise that Argentina is considered one of the favourites to win the 2022 World Cup.
Messi has a chance to create some history in Qatar. Should Argentina make it to the final, and their talisman features in every game, he will hold the record for most World Cup appearances with 26. Should Argentina be eliminated at the semi-final stage, Messi will equal the record of 25 games, currently held by Lothar Matthäus of Germany.
Matthäus played in five consecutive tournaments between 1982 and 1998, with three final appearances and a winners medal to his name. Messi will also join this exclusive club of players that have appeared in five World Cup tournaments. Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), Andrés Guardado and Guillermo Ochoa (both Mexico) also look set to make a record-tying fifth finals appearances.
Whilst he has averaged a goal every 1.81 games over the course of his international career, Messi has not been a prolific goal scorer at the World Cup. With just six goals in his 19 World Cup appearances so far, he will be looking to improve on his average of a goal every 3.17 games. The leading goal scorer for Argentina at the World Cup is the iconic Gabriel Batistuta, who managed 10 goals in just 12 games.
Winning the World Cup with Argentina would arguably be the pinnacle of Lionel Messi’s career but, if he can lead his country to glory in Qatar, he’ll also add a piece of World Cup history to his glittering resume.
Matt Hearn | GWFN