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'One last dance': Messi fans gear up for Argentina legend's last World Cup game at Qatar 2022 final

Following Argentina's 3-0 win over Croatia in the quarter-finals of the Qatar World Cup 2022, Lionel Messi confirmed that the December 18 final would be his last appearance on football's grandest stage.

football One last dance Lionel Messi fans gear up for Argentina legend last World Cup game at Qatar 2022 final snt
First Published Dec 14, 2022, 5:19 PM IST

Argentinian legend Lionel Messi has confirmed that the final on Sunday at Doha's Lusail Stadium will be his last-ever FIFA World Cup game. On Tuesday night, Messi's Argentina defeated Croatia 3-0 to secure their berth in the December 18 grand finale. The 35-year-old icon's penalty kick and a brace from strike partner Julian Alvarez made the difference between the two teams.

The PSG star broke the record for most goals scored in a World Cup when he scored his 11th goal in the semifinal. Messi also tied German icon Lothar Matthaus for the joint-most appearances in the event's history with 25 games played.

Also read: Indian fans await Argentina's Messi to have his '2011 Tendulkar moment' at Qatar World Cup 2022 final

In an interview with Diario Deportivo Ole, Messi confirmed that the final on Sunday would be his 26th and last game at World Cups, stating: "I feel very happy to be able to achieve this, to finish my World Cup journey by playing my last game in a final.

"It's many years for the next one, and I don't think I'll be able to do it. And to finish like this, it's the best. It's all well and good [the records], but the important thing is to be able to achieve the group objective, which is the most beautiful thing of all," the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner added.

"We're just one step away, after fighting hard, and we're going to give everything to try to make it happen this time," Messi concluded.

In the final, Argentina and Messi will face off against either Morocco or France. After booking their finals berth, Messi took to Instagram to thank his fans for their support throughout the tournament.

"TO THE END! We came back to gain strength to play another great match. Thank you very much to everyone who trusted this group! Come on Argentina!" wrote the former Barcelona legend.


A post shared by Leo Messi (@leomessi)

Messi's announcement that Sunday would be his last World Cup game, although expected, sent his fans into a tizzy. Some supporters expressed how that moment would be heartbreaking for them, while others hoped that the PSG star would shine in his 'one last dance'. 

Messi's Argentinian teammate Rodrigo De Paul said, "I just ask you to enjoy it, this journey living it with you is the best. THANK YOU CAPTAIN, I LOVE YOU," while Angel di Maria noted, "The best in the world."

Lisandro Martinez said, "THANK YOU Leo!!" while Giovani Lo Celso stated, "THANKS FOR SO MUCH FOOTBALL."

Also read: 'Magical duo does it again': Messi, Alvarez show seals Argentina's World Cup 2022 finals berth; fans overjoyed

Here's a look at how Messi fans reacted to the confirmation that the Qatar World Cup 2022 final would be his last appearance on football's grandest stage:

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