The 35-year-old scored the game’s first goal in the 23rd minute from the penalty spot after declaring before the final that it would be his last for Argentina.
Shortly after, Angel Di Maria added Argentina’s second goal, capping off a lovely team move as Lionel Scaloni’s team appeared to be in control.
However, a late brace from Messi’s teammate Kylian Mbapp of Paris Saint-Germain forced overtime.
With 10 minutes remaining, Messi appeared to have given Argentina the victory when he bundled the ball over the goal line. However, Mbappe later scored from the penalty spot to complete his hat-trick and force overtime and penalties.
Messi then converted his spot-kick in the shootout, and Argentina won the match as a result of Kingsley Coman and Aurlien Tchouamni’s misses.
Argentina last won the World Cup on Sunday, back in 1986, when the late Diego Maradona was a member of the squad.
After Argentina lost to Saudi Arabia in their opening match in Qatar, there were questions about whether Messi would ever be able to repeat Maradona’s feat and add himself to the pantheon of soccer’s greatest players to have won the World Cup final that year.
Argentina, led by Messi, excelled after the loss to Saudi Arabia though, defeating Australia, the Netherlands, and Croatia en route to the championship game.
Messi scored in each of those three contests, and after scoring twice in the championship game, he became the first player in World Cup history to score in every round of 16, including the quarterfinals, semifinals, and championship game.
He received the Player of the Tournament award for that incredible achievement, which he accepted just before winning the one soccer championship he had yet to win.
Soccer’s greatest player ever grinned from cheek to cheek as he lifted the World Cup trophy while dressed in a golden Qatari robe to represent true sporting royalty.
No player has ever achieved feats comparable to Messi’s in the annals of soccer.
In just 778 games over the course of his 17-year tenure with FC Barcelona, he scored an unprecedented 672 goals, contributing to the club’s 10 La Liga championships and four UEFA Champions League victories.
During that time, Messi also claimed six Ballon d’Or victories, the highest individual honor in soccer.
After helping Argentina win the Copa America in 2021, the first trophy for the national team since 1993, he added a record-extending seventh victory to that title. He was a PSG player at the time.
There is little doubt that he will win the Ballon d’Or for the eighth time now that he has won the World Cup and all of his soccer medals.