Lionel Messi is synonymous with football. After his stint with Barcelona, the Argentinian has won almost every accolade from both a team and personal perspective. Here’s an abridged list of his achievements so far.
- 10x La Liga
- 7x Copa Del Rey
- 7x Supercopa de Espana
- 4x UEFA Champions League
- 3x UEFA Super Cup
- 3x FIFA Club World Cup
- 1x Ligue 1
- 1x Trophée des Champions
- 1x FIFA World Youth Championship
- 1x Summer Olympics
- 1x Copa America
- 1x CONMENBOL-UEFA Cup of Champions
- 7x FIFA Ballon d’Or
- 1x FIFA World Player of the Year
- 6x European Golden Shoe
The FIFA World Cup title is the only thing that still eludes him in his illustrious career, and his closest finish was a painful 1-0 defeat in the 2014 final against Germany. Now, he has the chance to win again, but the road is a tough one. He has a semi-final match coming up against Croatia, the stubborn and gutty team that knocked out Brazil in the quarter-finals thanks to a late-game equaliser in extra time and then a penalty shootout victory. Croatia also made the quarterfinals through penalties against Japan, so they will have no qualms about slowing the game down and trying to stifle Messi and Argentina’s creativity.
A victory for Argentina would also set up what could be the best Final possible for this tournament, as France and Kyllian Mbappe have a strong shot at defeating Morocco in the semi-finals. Morocco are another gutty team who have found their way to the semi-finals after surprising Portugal with a 1-0 win in the quarterfinals while forcing out Spain in the round of 16 through a penalty shootout.
At the age of 35, this is likely Messi’s final chance at achieving his dream of raising the World Cup trophy for his country. Rumors are rife that he is set to move to the US next year to play for Inter Miami, which is a likely signal that he will be on the way to retiring soon from the game that he has dominated for so long.
Here’s the schedule of the upcoming semi-finals matches:
- Argentina vs. Croatia: 3:00 AM (+8GMT) Wednesday, December 14
- France vs. Morocco: 3:00 AM (+8GMT) Thursday, December 15
While we normally focus on basketball here at BALLERS PH, we’d be doing sports a disservice if we didn’t acknowledge the effect an athlete that Messi has had on the world. For those of you who aren’t familiar with his exploits, here’s a highlight reel of some of his best performances.