Messi’s last challenge

Leo Messi will play in Qatar what will probably be the last World Cup of his career and he faces it with the challenge to put in his name several historical records of the tournament. The striker has started the season at a great level with Paris Saint-Germain and in the 11 games he has played between the different competitions he has scored six goals and eight assists, more than anyone on the team in this last section. His good moment invites the Argentine team to dream, with which he is concentrated to play friendlies against Honduras and Jamaica.

Messi will become the youngest footballer in Qatar to play five World Cups. He will equal Antonio Carbajal (Mexico), Lothar Matthäus (Germany), Rafa Márquez (Mexico) and Gianluigi Buffon (Italy), who also played five championships, but older than Messi, who will reach that figure at 35 years old. The Portuguese Cristiano Ronaldo (37 years old) and the Mexicans Memo Ochoa (37) and Andrés Guardado (36) can also play their fifth World Cup in Qatar, but all of them are older than the Argentine.

The PSG striker will also have the opportunity to beat Diego Maradona and Javier Mascherano in Qatar to become the Argentinian with the most games played in the World Cups. Messi has made 19 appearances so far, for Mascherano’s 20 and Maradona’s 21.

Ángel Di María will also have the opportunity to climb positions in that classification. He comes with 13 matches played in the World Cups and could surpass Gonzalo Higuaín and Jorge Burruchaga (14), Óscar Ruggeri (16) and Mario Kempes (18). If Argentina reaches the semi-finals, Messi would be guaranteed to be able to play up to seven games, with which could break the total record held by Matthäus, with 25.

Two other brands that Messi has within his reach are those of most caps as captain in World Cup history and Argentina’s top scorer in the World Cup. Nobody has been captain more times than Maradona, who wore the armband in 16 games, for the 12 that Messi adds. In his four previous appearances, Leo has scored six goals, four less than Gabriel Batistuta, who still holds the record for the albiceleste.

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