Football Player: All FIFA World Cups Lionel Messi has participated in

Updated: 2 days ago

Lionel Messi's legend in soccer has been built thanks to the memorable performances he has given throughout his 18-year professional career. Some of them have been on the biggest stage this sport can have: the FIFA World Cup. Ahead of Qatar 2022, learn about all the World Cups in which Lionel has played. By Manuel Portillo García May 26, 2022 01:01PM EDT

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Lionel Messi's name has been written in indelible, golden ink in the pages of the book of soccer history. His incredible feats achieved, his talent and winning mentality to remain in the elite of world soccer for so long have put him in the top of the best that have ever played the sport. However, if there is one debt he could owe, it is the FIFA World Cup. Many of the greatest legends of world soccer have confirmed their status by doing something so simple to say, but so complex to do: shine so brightly (and matched with a capable team) as to be able to win the FIFA World Cup. Pelé, Franz Beckenbauer, Diego Maradona, Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane, among others, attest to the aforementioned. Qatar 2022 is getting closer and closer, and barring a tragedy in the form of indiscipline or injury, Lionel Messi will wear the colors of Argentina and seek to reclaim the title that has been denied him in the past, and not few, performances he has had in the FIFA World Cup. Here is a review of the performance of the star from Rosario in all the editions he has played in this tournament.

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Lionel Messi in FIFA World Cups

In total, the current Paris Saint Germain star has played 4 times in the FIFA World Cup, a situation that puts him on the verge of something historic: in Qatar 2022 he will join the select group of players who have played 5 editions of this tournament, which, for the moment, only has 3 members: the Mexicans Antonio Carbajal and Rafael Márquez, and the German Lothar Matthaus.

It is therefore natural that Lionel Messi has already accumulated a significant number of World Cup matches played. Currently, Lio has 19 appearances, and is second only to 11 players. If Argentina were to reach the Qatar 2022 final and he were to play in all the matches (7), he could become the player with the most games played in the history of the tournament, one ahead of current leader Lothar Matthaus (25).

In total, Lionel Messi has played 1625 minutes in the World Cups. Except for the first edition, in which he played 3 of the 5 matches Argentina had, he has played almost all the complete matches in which he has appeared; only in Brazil 2014, in the third match of the group stage against Nigeria, he came on as a substitute, at minute 63.

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Messi's goal-scoring history got off to a sweet start: he made his debut in Germany 2006 against Serbia and Montenegro, coming on as a substitute at 74' for Maxi Rodriguez; 14 minutes later, on a pass from Carlos Tevez, he scored his first goal. Although, he had already provided his first assist (Hernan Crespo's goal), with only 4 minutes on the field.

Despite the splendid start, Lionel Messi's participation in World Cups has not yielded as many goals, as he has only scored 6; however, he has also contributed 5 assists. In fact, in South Africa 2010 he only provided one assist but did not score a single goal. And in the most recent edition played in the World Cup, Russia 2018, he barely scored once but provided two assists. Undoubtedly, the bitterest memory for Lionel Messi has been the FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014, an edition in which he helped lead Argentina, coached by Alejandro Sabella, to the Final, where they lost to the Germany of Joachim Low, Manuel Neuer, Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Miroslav Klose and Thomas Muller.

In fact, Messi's history in World Cups could well be told through two rivals: Nigeria and Germany. With the exception of Germany 2006, there has not been a FIFA World Cup edition in which Lionel has not faced the Africans (Argentina won all the matches). While the Europeans have been the nemesis of the Albiceleste and Messi by defeating them in 3 of the four World Cups in which they have participated together. Always in the knockout stage.

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FIFA World Cup Germany 2006 At only 19 years old, Lionel Messi attended his first FIFA World Cup, where Argentina reached the Quarter Finals and was eliminated by the host country. Messi only played 3 games, out of 5 that his team played, he started only one of them (vs Netherlands), he could never complete the 90 minutes and he scored one goal and gave one assist. Only time Messi did not wear the number 10 in a World Cup (shirt 19).


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FIFA World Cup South Africa 2010 Perhaps the most obscure FIFA World Cup edition of Lionel Messi. With Diego Armando Maradona at the helm, Argentina once again failed to advance to the Semifinals, after being eliminated once again by Germany. Lionel already wore the number 10 on his back and was captain for the first time (vs Greece). He played all the minutes of the 5 Albiceleste games but was only able to provide one assist.


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FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 After an edition to forget, Lionel Messi found some vindication at the FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014. What looked to be the long-awaited moment to see Lionel lift the trophy of this tournament ended in a catastrophe sponsored by Germany, which was crowned champion at the expense of Lio and the Albiceleste. Messi was captain in all 7 matches of his National Team, in which he was substituted only once, scored 4 goals and gave an assist.


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FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 At the ripe old age of 31, Lionel Messi approached Russia 2018 with the idea of seeking revenge and the peace of mind that only winning a FIFA World Cup would give him. Once again captain and starter in all the matches played by Argentina, in which he also played all the minutes, scored a goal and provided two assists. In this World Cup, Messi knew what it was like to miss a penalty for the first time in a World Cup, lose for the first time in the group stage (0-3 vs. Croatia), score for the third time in this tournament against Nigeria, and be eliminated by the future World Champion, France, this just in the Round of 16.


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Date: 27/5/2022

Location: Malaysia

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