Lionel Messi Explains Why Winning the 2022 FIFA World Cup Was Very Important to Him

Lionel Messi Explains Why Winning the 2022 FIFA World Cup Was Very Important to Him

Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe
updated at February 13, 2024 at 11:54 AM
In this article:
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Inter Miami CF logoFArgentina logo
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FIFA World Cup
  • Lionel Messi has reflected on his World Cup triumph
  • Messi played a pivotal role in Argentina winning its third Mundial at the expense of France
  • He outlined why he was bent on winning the World Cup

Lionel Messi has shared the deeply personal motivation behind his pursuit of winning the FIFA World Cup.

After the heartbreak of missing out on the world championship in 2014, the 36-year-old finally achieved his goal in 2022, leading Argentina to victory after five attempts.

Lionel Messi, Argentina, France, World Cup
Lionel Messi inspired Argentina to their third World Cup success after beating France on penalties. Photos by Simon Bruty and Ercin Erturk
Source: Getty Images

Messi showcased exceptional form as La Albiceleste recovered from an unexpected defeat against Saudi Arabia in the opening match to claim the world title, triumphing over France in a thrilling Grand Finale decided by a penalty shootout, per the Guardian.

Throughout the tournament, the former Barcelona and PSG attacker played a pivotal role, contributing to all of Argentina's goals from the round 16 onwards.

He scored twice in the final, securing second place in the top scorers list with a total of seven goals and earning the prestigious Golden Ball Award for the tournament's best player.

This triumph in Qatar, almost a year ago, also contributed to Messi's historic eighth Ballon d'Or win at the Théatre du Châtelet in Paris back in October.

Despite these remarkable achievements, the Inter Miami captain has revealed the singular driving force that fueled his relentless pursuit of winning the World Cup.

"[Before winning the World Cup] I had a bad time. My family and the people who love me did too. [Critics in Argentina] were very unfair to our generation of players and they said a lot of bad things about me," Messi, speaking to the 'Champions, a Year Later' special on Star+, revealed as quoted by Tribuna.
"It feels like a triumph for me now to win all the people of Argentina over. Today, 95% or 100% of Argentines love me, and that's a beautiful feeling.
"It is the thing most everyone desires. Everyone dreams big and the biggest is to be world champion with your national team.
"I was lucky to achieve everything at the club level with Barcelona and also at the individual level. This was the only thing that eluded me. There are very few players who can say that they have achieved everything, and thanks to God I am one of them.

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Messi to play at 2026 World Cup?

Sports Brief also reported that Lionel Messi is not ruling out another bid for World Cup glory with Argentina in 2026 despite acknowledging that time is working against him.

The 36-year-old had suggested at the time that the tournament in Qatar would be his last and that he wouldn't be around for the next tournament, which the United States, Canada, and Mexico would co-host.

Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe photo
Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe
Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe is a Ligue 1, Bundesliga, and La Liga editor with five-year experience. He previously worked with Sports Corna and 360SportsGH.