Superlatives like “legendary,” “greatest,” and “immortal” were exhausted after Lionel Messi led Argentina to victory in one of the most thrilling World Cup finals in history.
La Albiceleste won their first World Cup since being led to victory in 1986 by Argentina national hero Diego Maradona thanks to the exciting penalty shootout victory over France.
And it caused a jubilant outpouring in Argentina, where the press praised the country’s most recent crop of World Cup champions and their talisman Messi.
Images of him hoisting the trophy and the team’s celebrations were widely shared on Argentine news websites and social media.
According to the newspaper La Nacion and the sports magazine Clarin, Messi’s Argentina had won “the greatest final in history.”
“We are world champions!” was prominently displayed on the sports newspaper Ole’s homepage.
The final lived up to expectations for the neutrals, featuring a titanic matchup between Messi and French phenom Kylian Mbappe.
Argentina defeated France in a thrilling World Cup final
Messi twice converted penalty kicks to give Argentina the lead, but Mbappe ignited the French comeback with a hat-trick to force the game to penalties.
The headline on the front page of the French sports newspaper L’Equipe, superimposed over an image of Mbappe holding his Golden Boot award as he walked past the World Cup trophy, read, “Head held high.”
The Liberation newspaper’s front page, which included images of Messi and Mbappe, referred to his achievements as “legendary,” while Le Figaro called them “heroic.”
- “In God’s Hand” –
Messi had already established himself as one of the best players of all time, but the World Cup, the only major trophy he had never won, was the talk of the football world in the weeks leading up to the final.
And with Argentina’s victory on Sunday, the question of his place in sporting history was largely resolved.
Even in Brazil — an intense rival — the O Globo newspaper paid tribute to Messi, saying football had “paid its debt” to its biggest star.
In the United States, which will host the next World Cup with Canada and Mexico, a report in The Washington Post said Messi was finally rewarded in an “immortal” final.
Spain’s El Pais newspaper said Messi had been “crowned in the final of finals”.
And in Asia, where Messi has legions of fans, Indian newspaper The Hindu said his Argentina team had kept their “date with destiny”, while South Korean daily Hankook Ilbo called him a “god of football”.