Qatar 2022Our most memorable memories of Lionel Messi’s career
On Sunday, the Argentinian won the 2022 World Cup with his country. A coronation that takes him to a new dimension. Six of our journalists pick their most important moments of his career.
Chris Geiger – The Maradonesque Goal
Lionel Messi, long hair and Noh 19 flocked to his Barça jersey. It’s a different time. More importantly, it was the birth of one of the best players in history, if not the best. The brilliant Argentine’s action against Getafe in the semi-finals of the King’s Cup in 2007 alone summed up the extraordinary talent of one who would become a seven-time Ballon d’Or. A solo from the center line, done with speed and a fantastic technique, that put in the air an entire defense as well as the opposing goalkeeper. A pleasure. The comparison with Diego Maradona’s goal against England in the 1986 World Cup immediately jumped into the eyes of the whole world. His irresistible ascension to the throne was therefore beyond doubt.
Pierre-Alain Schlosser – An unforgettable slalom against Real
It’s every defender’s nightmare. When he goes into his solos, Lionel Messi is unstoppable. The speed of his execution, the balance, the way of reading the position of the opponents and dizziness among the spectators. We remember how the Argentinian had a cold Boateng in the 2015 Champions League semi-final between Barça and Bayern. In 2011, he was even better at the same stage of the competition. The seven-time Ballon d’Or weaved between four Real players before crossing his shot to deceive Casillas. Delicious!
Renaud Tschoumy – The fivefold in LDC
25, 42, 49, 58, 84: these are not the lottery combination numbers, but the minutes of a match in which Lionel Messi scored. It was March 7, 2012, at 8e Champions League final against Bayer Leverkusen. FC Barcelona, a 3-1 winner of the first leg in Germany, went around that night, causing a real slap in the face to the German club (7-1). And the brilliant Argentinian seized the opportunity to become the first player in history to sign a quintuplet in Europe’s most prestigious competitions. The legend was already moving, it only solidified that night.
Ruben Steiger – A celebration that kills at the Bernabeu
When we talk about Lionel Messi, we obviously think of his years at FC Barcelona and the clashes with rivals Madrid, especially on April 23, 2017. That day, in a full stadium of Santiago Bernabeu, the Argentinian offered victory to his team in 92e minutes. This goal symbolizes the left leg of the native of Rosario. We lost count of how many times he beat goalkeepers with his little curled shot. More than the goal, it was the celebration with a Messi brandishing the jersey of his forever club that remains in the memory.
André Boschetti – The true dedication
Lionel Messi missed the Sports Hall of Fame on Sunday by winning with Argentina the most beautiful and prestigious trophy a footballer could dream of. His countless victories in all the competitions in which he participated, especially with FC Barcelona, has long allowed him to be one of the greatest sportsmen of all time. An avalanche of titles where he contributed more thanks to his goals and moves from elsewhere. But the image I will forever have is Lionel Messi holding the World Cup. An ultimate grail that not only rewards an extraordinary career but above all he knows how to conquer after an extraordinary performance as a true leader in the final. The kind of individual performance in the service of the collective for which many of his admirers are perhaps no longer considered capable at age 35.
Yves Desplands – The long awaited trophy
For an old ‘hincha’ from Argentina like me, highlighting a key moment in ‘Leo’s’ career is a cruel problem. But certainly the victory in the Copa America in 2021 against Brazil (1-0) was an important moment on the way to victory in Qatar on Sunday night. First because Argentina has not won anything since 1993, except for the Olympic title in 2008 (with Messi). But mainly because of Brazil, Messi became the boss that the whole world discovered in Doha. This victory at the Maracanã Stadium, against the eternal enemy, and the matches of the tournament confirmed the choice of the organization of Lionel Scaloni, with a team at the service of a Messi who fought like a lion until the end. And that’s just the beginning of the dream…