In playing a part in Argentina’s second Group C game with Mexico at the World Cup in Qatar, Lionel Messi breaks a long-standing record held by Argentine great Diego Maradona.
Playing in his fifth World Cup, the game with Mexico is Messi’s 21st appearance at World Cups so far in his career, equalling Maradona’s total, reached after his appearances in the 1994 World Cup in the USA. Messi played at Germany in 2006 (3 games), South Africa in 2010 (5), Brazil in 2014 (7) and Russia in 2018 (4) before travelling to the Middle East this winter. Germany’s Lothar Matthäus holds the worldwide record with 25 games at World Cups, his last being in 1998.
In total, Messi scored seven goals in his first 20 World Cup games, while assisting another five. Former West Ham and Liverpool midfielder Javier Mascherano is currently next on Argentina’s list of appearance markers with 20 games across his four World Cups.