Lionel Messi matches Cristiano Ronaldo feat to reignite GOAT debate

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·Sports Reporter
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Pictured left to right, Lionel Messi and rival Cristiano Ronaldo holds trophies won with their respective national teams.
Lionel Messi's victory with Argentina in Finalissima has seen him match Cristiano Ronaldo's career haul of two major international trophies. Pic: Getty

Lionel Messi has equalled Cristiano Ronaldo’s tally of two major international trophies after starring in Argentina’s Finalissima victory over Italy.

Messi was named player of the match and notched a pair of assists as La Albiceleste secured a 3-0 win over the Azzuri at Wembley Stadium.

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It was the first time the one-off fixture, which pits the champions of South America against the champions of Europe, has been held since 1993.

Argentina’s victory was significant for Messi, who despite a swathe of silverware and individual accolades at club level, has had to wait several years for glory with his national team.

The 34-year-old broke the drought last June, playing a key role in Argentina’s 1-0 victory over Brazil in the Copa America.

Winning the Finalissima is another important notch on the Argentine’s belt as he attempts to cement his legacy as the greatest footballer of all time.

"It was a beautiful final, full of Argentines. What we experienced here was beautiful," Messi said.

"Today was a nice test because Italy are a great team. We knew it was going to be a nice game and a nice setting in which to be champions."

Messi’s performance was so impressive, he was lifted up by his teammates and tossed into the air as celebration.

England legend and football pundit Gary Lineker lauded Messi as ‘incomparable’ and a ‘diminutive genius’ on social media following the match.

Lionel Messi display dazzles football world

Match commentator Peter Drury was also gushing in his praise of the Paris Saint Germain forward.

"His was a vintage display. In a team context, an individual who floated above it all. Very often without the ball, but especially with it. Goodness me, he must have a well upholstered mantlepiece.”

"Cherish him, relish him while you’ve got him. Another Messi moment."

The result moved Messi alongside Ronaldo, his fiercest rival for the mantle of football’s GOAT, in terms of international success. Ronaldo won Euro 2016 with Portugal, as well as the 2019 Nations League.

Messi has won the Ballon d’Or seven times compared to Ronaldo’s five, while Messi has also now won a total of 40 trophies across domestic and international football, compared to Ronaldo’s total of 34.

Both players will have the chance to add the biggest prize the world game has to offer to their trophy cabinets, with Argentina and Portugal set to compete at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

Seen here, Argentina captain Lionel Messi holds the trophy aloft as he celebrates with teammates after beating Italy 3-0 to win the 2022 Finalissima.
Argentina captain Lionel Messi holds the trophy aloft as he celebrates with teammates after beating Italy 3-0 to win the 2022 Finalissima. Pic: Getty

Argentina are amongst the favourites to win the tournament following a hot run of form that has seen them unbeaten in their last 32 games.

Portugal, on the other hand, only qualified for the World Cup via the UEFA playoffs after finishing second in their group.

The tournament looms as potentially the last World Cup appearance for both players and the final chance to earn the ultimate bragging rights over each other.

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