News Matches
L. Messi

Messi pays tribute to Maradona after fulfilling Argentina World Cup dream: 'Diego encouraged us from heaven!'

11:32 GMT+3 21/12/2022
Messi-Maradona-World-Cup-split
Lionel Messi has paid tribute to the late Diego Maradona after fulfilling his World Cup dream with the Argentina national team.
  • Messi matched Maradona in Qatar
  • Inspired Argentina to World Cup win
  • Paid tribute to legend in an Instagram post

WHAT HAPPENED? The Argentine skipper finally got his hands on the World Cup on Sunday after helping his country beat France in the 2022 final on penalties. With seven goals and three assists across the tournament, Messi was nothing short of a talisman for his nation, just like Maradona in 1986 when the Albiceleste won their second global crown. On numerous occasions in the past, Messi has revealed his admiration and deepest respect for the footballing icon, who passed away in November 2020. The 35-year-old penned another heartfelt note for fans on Tuesday and did not fail to give Maradona a special mention.

WHAT THEY SAID: Messi wrote on Instagram: "From Grandoli to the Qatar World Cup took almost 30 years. It was close to three decades when the ball gave me many joys and some sorrows. I always dreamed of being a world champion and I didn't want to stop trying, even knowing that maybe I would never give up. This cup we got is also from all those who did not make it in the previous World Cups we played, like in 2014 in Brazil, where they all deserved it for how they fought until the same final, worked hard and wanted it as much as I did.

"It's also from Diego who encouraged us from heaven. And of all those who spent the time always supporting the national team without looking so much at the result but the desire we always put into it, also when things didn't go as we wanted. Many times failure is part of the journey and learning and without the disappointments, it is impossible for success to come. Thank you very much from my heart! Let's go Argentina!!!"

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Messi also paid tribute to Maradona when he was still at Barcelona by taking off his jersey to reveal the red-and-black kit from the legend's stint at Newell’s Old Boys, after scoring against Osasuna in La Liga. Messi played for Newell's at youth level before flying to Barcelona at the age of 13, while Maradona played five matches for the South American club at the end of his career.

IN TWO PHOTOS:

WHAT NEXT FOR MESSI? After conquering the world with Argentina, the forward will return to competitive action at club level with Paris Saint-Germain when they take on Strasbourg on December 28 in Ligue 1.