Even if Lionel Messi and Argentina don’t triumph in the World Cup final against France on Sunday, that won’t alter the fact that it’s been Messi’s tournament.
He has dragged La Albiceleste kicking and screaming into the showpiece, after the unbelievable shock of losing their opener to Saudi Arabia.
Ever since that seismic turnaround, Barcelona’s former talisman has written his name large, making headlines throughout the tournament.
With the possible exception of Ronaldo disciples, surely no one would deny Leo what would be the most fitting bookmark to his career.
However, his legacy in the game won’t be tarnished if his national team come up agonisingly short again.
How can it?!
He’ll set a new record for appearances in World Cup finals if he plays on Sunday, and after 24 minutes will also have broken Paolo Maldini’s record of 2,217 minutes played.
He also holds the record for most World Cup appearances as captain, and if Argentina win, he will equal Miroslav Klose for most wins (17).
One more assist in the final will put him level with Pele’s 10, and he is the only player to score a World Cup goal in his teens, 20s and 30s,
The fastest player to reach 100 Champions League goals, he has the most hat-tricks in the competition’s history (8), scoring against the most opponents (40).
Seven Ballon’s d’Or, six Golden Shoes… sounds like a Christmas tune…!
Most goals and assists for Barcelona, most goals and assists in La Liga history… the list of records is endless and, frankly, incomparable, no matter how hard others try to justify the relative merits of their favourite player.
Messi can do everything they can - but better.
There’s no player in football history that can hold a candle to his achievements, and it’s time to stop using the lack of a World Cup triumph against him.
Barca’s fan base are notoriously hard to please but they’ve been in Messi’s thrall for the past two decades.
His move to Paris Saint-German was unfortunate, and you’ll not find too many culers that would turn their noses up at a potential last hurrah at the club where he made his name and the one with whom he will always be associated.
There’s only one GOAT and his name is Lionel Messi.