In one of the best performances ever seen at a World Cup, Lionel Messi has broken a number of records previously held by other legendary players at Qatar 2022.
Qatar 2022 could not have turned out better for Lionel Messi. Not only did he win his first FIFA World Cup with Argentina, he also played a key role in it. Nobody could have imagined it a few years ago, but Messi’s best World Cup came at the age of 35.
Leo has played in four previous editions of the tournament, but they were more of a heartbreaking memory than an unforgettable experience. Messi had little playing time in 2006, failed to score in 2010, lost in the final in 2014 and suffered an early retirement in 2018.
The World Cup is no longer a blemish on his glittering career as Messi added the coveted trophy to his CV this year. But also in the process, he performed a number of feats, breaking the records of Pele, Diego Maradona and other legends.
Most goals and assists combined in World Cup history
With his sensational level in Qatar, Messi became the player with most goals and assists combined in World Cup history (21). Pele, who had a hand in 20 goals, previously held the record.
Most games played in World Cup history
By taking Argentina to the grand final, Messi overtook German legend Lothar Matthaus as the player with most games played at a FIFA World Cup (26). The Argentine star never failed to make it out of the group stage. This is how he fared at the tournament:
2006 – Quarterfinals
2010 – Quarterfinals
2014 – Finalist
2018 – Round of 16
2022 – Champion
Most minutes played in World Cup history
Lionel Messi also recorded the most minutes played by a player at a World Cup during his participation at Qatar 2022. With 2314 minutes played, he surpassed Italian icon Paolo Maldini (2216).
Most games as captain in World Cup history
Having worn the captain’s armband since Brazil 2014, Messi went on to play 19 World Cup games as Argentina’s captain, an unprecedented feat in tournament history. Leo surpassed Maradona, who was the leader with 16 games.
Youngest player to participate in five World Cups
Messi also surpassed Gianluigi Buffon as the youngest player to take part at five different World Cups (35). The emblematic Italian goalkeeper held the record at 36.