On Tuesday night, the world once again witnessed the brilliance of a certain Lionel Messi as he helped Argentina make it through to the finals of the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar.
The 35-year-old was the star of the show, along with Julian Alvarez, as La Albiceleste defeated 2018 finalists Croatia 3-0 at the Lusail Stadium to book a place in the showpiece event of the tournament later this weekend.
Having started their World Cup journey with a defeat to Saudi Arabia, Argentina have recovered excellently, with Messi at the heart of their run to the finals.
On Tuesday, he was once again at the centre of all action as the PSG superstar scored a goal from the penalty spot to put Argentina ahead at a time when Croatia looked to be in control of proceedings.
Later in the second half, Messi pulled off one of the most amazing assists of the tournament to set Alvarez up for his second goal of the night.
With his goal and assist on Tuesday against Croatia, Messi has now reached 20 goal contributions in the World Cup (11 goals, nine assists) – the most by any player in the history of the revered tournament.
Of those 20 goal involvements, eight have come in the ongoing World Cup as Messi has scored five goals and set up three more for his teammates.
As a result, the former Barcelona captain is tied with Kylian Mbappe (5) in the Golden Boot race while he is also joint-top for most assists in the 2022 World Cup, along with Bruno Fernandes, Antoine Griezmann and Harry Kane.
On top of that, Messi has also created the most number of chances at the Qatar World Cup (18) and has taken the highest number of shots (27).
Messi’s goal against Croatia also meant that he became Argentina’s all-time leading goalscorer at the World Cup, going past Gabriel Batistuta’s tally of ten strikes.
The Argentina captain also moved level with Lothar Matthaus as the player with the most number of appearances at the World Cup (25). With a place in the finals booked, Messi is all set to go past the German legend and make the record his own this weekend.