Lionel Messi, who against Saudi Arabia became the youngest footballer to participate in five World Cups, achieved two historic milestones in the match that saw Argentina beat Mexico 2-0 in Qatar. He overtook Diego Maradona as the Argentinian with the most World Cup appearances and has now also matched the eight goals that Diego scored at the tournament.
Including the two matches played in Qatar, against Saudi Arabia and Mexico, Messi has made 21 World Cup appearances – the same as Maradona and one more than Javier Mascherano. Leo is now four away from the all-time appearance record of German Lothar Matthäus. Messi previously played three games in Germany 2006, five in South Africa 2010, seven in Brazil 2014 and four in Russia 2018. Messi could equal Matthäus if Argentina reaches the semi-finals in Qatar and would beat him in the final or in the clash for third and fourth place.
Argentina’s forward #10 Lionel Messi reacts with Argentina’s forward #22 Lautaro Martinez at the final whistle of the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group C football match between Argentina and Mexico at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, north of Doha on November 26, 2022. (Photo by JUAN MABROMATA / AFP)JUAN MABROMATAAFP
In 21 games he has accumulated eight goals, the latest being against Mexico. Messi has now equalled Maradona and is two goals behind Gabriel Batistuta, Argentina’s top scorer in the World Cup.
With his goal against Saudi Arabia, Messi had already become the first Argentine to score in four World Cups (2006, 2014, 2018 and 2022). Maradona did it in 1982, 1986 and 1994; Batistuta in 1994, 1998 and 2002.