September 30, 2023

Lionel Messi will be keen to clinch the elusive FIFA World Cup when Argentina take on reigning world champions France in the final tonight (December 18).

Messi has been at his devastating best during the 2022 FIFA World Cup, leading La Albiceleste to the final. Defending champions France await them in the final at the Lusail Stadium. Les Bleus are looking to become only the third country to win back-to-back FIFA World Cups, after Brazil (1962) and Italy (1938).

Messi leads both scoring and assists charts in the tournament and has been absolutely integral in leading Argentina to their sixth World Cup final. Along with France international Kylian Mbappe, Messi leads the Golden Boot race with five goals and also has a tournament-high three assists.

The 35-year-old recently joined an elite list of players to have played 1000 career games for club and country when Argentina took on Australia in the Round of 16. The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner could achieve seven more milestones in the World Cup final against France:

#1 Most wins by a player in FIFA World Cup

Messi has won 16 World Cup games. If he can lead Argentina to a win against France, he will join German legend Miroslav Klose as the player with the most World Cup games won.

#2 Most appearances by a player in FIFA World Cup

Messi is level with Lothar Matthaus for most appearances in the FIFA World Cup (25). He will take the record outright when he takes the field against France tonight.

#3 Most minutes played in the FIFA World Cup

Lionel Messi is just 23 minutes behind Italian legend Paolo Maldini’s record of most minutes played in World Cup history (2217).

#4 Most assists in FIFA World Cup history

Messi has had nine assists in the World Cup. He has an opportunity to go level with Brazilian icon Pele (10) or overtake him tonight if he makes two assists against Les Bleus.

#5 Win multiple Golden Ball awards

Lionel Messi is a favourite to win his second FIFA World Cup Golden Ball. Having won it in 2014, Messi will become the first player to win the award twice.

#6 Win both Golden Boot and Golden Ball in same World Cup

Messi has an opportunity to become only the eighth player to win both the Golden Ball and Golden Boot.

#7 Most goal contributions in World Cup

Lionel Messi has contributed 20 goals in the World Cup (11 goals and nine assists). He will go level with Pele’s record of most goal contributions in the World Cup (22; 12 goals, 10 assists).

Ousmane Dembele heaps praise on Lionel Messi ahead of FIFA World Cup final

France international Ousmane Dembele has heaped praise on his former Barcelona teammate Lionel Messi, saying that the Argentina captain made him ‘fall in love’ with Barcelona. He said:

“He’s an exceptional player, one of those who made me love Barcelona, along with Iniesta. I spent four great years with him.”

Lionel Messi’s Argentina shirts have sold out. Adidas confirmed that they have run out of the ‘Messi 10’ shirts in all sizes around the world… ????

“He’s a normal guy in the dressing room. He helps young players. He gave me a lot. He’s difficult to control, and we’ll have to do everything we can to make sure he touches the ball as little as possible. I think I can do better offensively, but sometimes the important thing is the team, and I don’t think about the numbers. But it’s true that I’m missing a goal.”

Dembele has been impressive for France at the 2022 FIFA World Cup and will be a key player in the final against Argentina.

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