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Magical Messi completes his masterpiece

The Argentine genius turns back time and makes more history

Argentina v France: Final - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

Lionel Messi has fulfilled his destiny.

Just as his magnificent Barcelona career came to a close, he turned his attention to Argentina, knowing there was one thing left for him to do.

For anyone who ever doubted Messi’s desire to win for his country, La Pulga was going to set the record straight, and make them kings again.

First of South America, and then, the world.

In 2021, he took down Brazil, and friend Neymar, at the Copa America, finally making good on bringing silverware home.

But that wasn’t enough.

After marching through World Cup qualifying, and defeating reigning European champions Italy at the 2022 Finalissima, belief was spreading, and pressure was building, for Messi to deliver the big one in Qatar.

Italy v Argentina - Finalissima 2022 Photo by Alex Gottschalk/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

It’s no one’s divine right to win a World Cup, and it doesn’t happen as a result of talent alone. You may receive a bit of luck, but ultimately, it takes grit, fight, and determination.

Losing to Saudi Arabia in the opening match of the tournament was a make or break moment. There was no longer any margin for error.

That’s when the feeling of magic began.

The type of magic that will be told forever in Argentinian folklore.

Like Diego Maradona before him, Messi has always been larger than life.

In analyzing the great debate, when you look at Cristiano Ronaldo, you see a man who worked tirelessly to become one of the best players in the world.

When you look at Maradona or Messi, you see spirits sent from heaven, or another planet, on a mission to make us earthlings believe in the impossible.

Maradona’s hand of God was all over this tournament, with his light reigning down, and showing the way for this Argentinian team.

Diego Maradona Argentina 1985 Photo by David Cannon/Allsport/Getty Images/Hulton Archive

Not that Messi needed motivation, but with Diego’s passing in 2020, his country was in mourning, and desperately in need of a new national hero to bring them back to the promised land.

This was Messi’s final mission. To take the torch from Maradona, and become the best player of all time in the eyes of all his compatriots, by making them champions of the world again.

To do so, he had to turn back time.

With PSG, you could see Messi finally building himself back up to top form, and becoming the star in Paris everyone hoped he would be.

But with Kylian Mbappe by his side, it was never going to be his team.

Like Barcelona in his final years, managers at PSG struggled to build a squad that allowed Messi’s talent to truly shine and lead the way. Success depended on the Frenchman, and the game plan reflected that.

With Lionel Scaloni taking charge of Argentina, however, new ideas began to blossom.

FBL-WC-2022-MATCH64-ARG-FRA Photo by JEWEL SAMAD/AFP via Getty Images

Someone finally cracked the code, and figured out how to build a team that maximized what Messi could contribute at this stage in his career, while surrounding him with a complimentary supporting cast who knew their role, and together could win the world’s biggest trophies.

Scaloni’s 4-4-2 was a masterstroke, pairing Messi with a true number nine up top, and allowing him the freedom to roam, pick his spots, and find the moments to impact games in the way only he could.

PSG doesn’t have the personnel to replicate this.

At Barcelona, it wouldn’t have worked either, with the prototypical possession based midfielders not capable of providing the physicality and off the ball work rate that Rodrigo de Paul and Enzo Fernandez, and company, have provided.

But with Argentina, it has been a marvel to watch.

Thank God for Lionel Scaloni, a manager humble enough to put ideology aside, and create the best system for the players available to him, and as a result, deliver to the world a team that could assist Messi in his quest to bring glory back to his country.

Argentina v France: Final - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images

On Sunday, Argentina weren’t the only champions. The world won too.

Every football fanatic who lives for the beauty of the game.

Every casual fan, who learned what makes football unlike any other sport, any other institution for that matter, on this planet.

Football is a force for good unlike any other, and Messi is the superhero.

History has been written, and the ink is dry.

Long live Messi.

There will never be another like him.

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