Argentina and Lionel Messi are celebrating their World Cup triumph after beating France in the final, while Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal were knocked out in the quarter finals.
It was a tournament billed as ‘the Last Dance’ for two of football’s greatest ever players.
But while Lionel Messi danced a jig, trophy aloft inside Lusail Stadium, Cristiano Ronaldo was consigned to watching from his sofa. At 35 and 37 respectively, it feels inevitable that the World Cup in Qatar will be the great rivals’ last.
Messi said as much prior to yet another display of majesty against France: “There’s a lot of years until the next one and I don’t think I have it in me and finishing like this is best.”
And there was to be no damp squib as his final act, scoring twice during the thrilling 3-3 draw, before converting his penalty to give Argentina the perfect start in the shootout. The tournament’s defining image will be of Messi finally realising his international ambition, and in doing so completing football’s ‘Grand Slam’.