Lionel Messi breaks numerous World Cup records with opener in final


Lionel Messi has broken a host of fresh World Cup records courtesy of his opening goal in the final against France this afternoon.

The 35-year-old broke the deadlock after 23 minutes at the Lusail Stadium, converting from the penalty spot after Angel Di Maria had been brought down by Ousmane Dembele.

In sending Hugo Lloris the wrong way, Messi became the first player to have 20 direct goal involvements in World Cups since records began in 1966.

The Argentina captain now boasts 12 goals - level with Pele's tally at World Cups - in addition to eight assists, which is a joint-record tally with Diego Maradona.

The combined total of 20 direct goal involvements sees him move clear of Miroslav Klose, Gerd Muller and Ronaldo, the latter of whom has also seen another record taken off his hands by Messi.

The seven-time Ballon d'Or winner is now the first player to have directly contributed to a goal in 14 different World Cup games, moving out on his own having previously jointly held the record with Ronaldo.

Messi has also become the first player to score in the group stage, round of 16, quarter-final, semi-final and final of a World Cup since the last 16 was introduced.

As it happened, the goal came in the 23rd minute too - the very minute Messi surpassed Paolo Maldini's record for most minutes played at a World Cup, having already moved above Lothar Matthaus for the most World Cup appearances with 26.

Four of Messi's six goals at the 2022 World Cup have come from the spot, equalling the record for most penalties scored at a single edition of the tournament, which he now jointly holds with Rob Rensenbrink and Eusebio.

Messi has also now moved out one goal ahead of Kylian Mbappe in the Golden Boot race and looks to be the front-runner to be the first player to win the Golden Ball on more than one occasion.

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