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Messi on road to greatness with six records in sight

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DOHA: One of the greatest footballers of all-time Lionel Messi is just one win away from achieving the biggest reward of his whole career when his side Argentina meets the holders France in the FIFA World Cup final today at Lusail Stadium. 

Argentina’s captain has the last opportunity to make his final international appearance a memorable outing for him since he already announced his retirement from playing for his nation after this World Cup.

As France will be aiming to become the third team after Italy and Brazil to win consecutive titles, Messi’s Argentina will try to seal their first after a long gap of 36 years when iconic Diego Maradona led the way.

With all eyes fixed on the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner to complete his set of medals – as the World Cup trophy remains the only missing link in his otherwise prolific career – there are multiple other records he can register in the final in Qatar.

Most wins by a player in World Cup:

Messi has already won 16 games in FIFA World Cup, but if he wins today’s final, he will equal legendary German striker Miroslav Klose’s record of the most wins in World Cups.

Most appearances in World Cups: 

Notwithstanding the outcome of the final, the mere presence on the field will take Messi to his record 26th appearance in World Cups, most by any player, surpassing Germany’s Lothar Matthaus ( 25 appearances).

 Most minutes played in World Cup:

Italian legend Paolo Maldini currently holds the record for most minutes played in World Cup history with 2,217. Messi, on the other hand, has played for 2,194 minutes so far while 24 more minutes will take him to the top of this chart.

Most assists in World cups:

The Argentina striker has contributed nine assists in FIFA World Cup games to date. With ten assists under his belt, Brazilian superstar Pele currently holds the top spot. Messi will break this record if he can assist his teammates in scoring at least two goals in the championship game.

Multiple Golden Ball awards: 

With three assists and five goals, Messi is a prime contender for the Golden Ball, one of the two coveted individual awards at the World Cups. He was bestowed with the title in the 2014 World Cup and if he gets it this time around too, he will become the only player to win two ‘Golden Ball’, an award for the best all-round performer of the World Cup.

Winner of both Golden Boot and Golden Ball in World Cup:

Golden Boot, another prestigious individual award is given to the highest goal-scorer in an edition of the FIFA World Cup. The unique honour of being awarded both Golden Boot and Golden Ball is something that only seven players in the past, namely Silva (1938), Garrincha (1962), Ronaldo (1998 Golden Ball, 2002 Golden Boot), Paolo Rossi (1982), Salvatore Schillaci (1990), and former Argentina star Mario Kempes (1978) have achieved.

Tied with France’s Mbappe at five goals, Messi has to score more goals than his PSG team-mate to claim Golden Boot. And if Messi manages to get both awards, he will be the only player to do so in the present century.

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