Lionel Messi has revealed he feels fortunate to boast a trophy cabinet few can match as he reflects on Argentina’s World Cup triumph a year ago.
In an interview for Star+’s new series, “Champions, a Year Later,” Messi expressed his happiness at finally winning the World Cup trophy for Argentina—the one honour missing from a career filled with gold. Messi considers the criticism he endured in the years leading up to the competition and his happiness at having been able to appease and eventually win over his most ardent detractors in Argentina.
Argentinian success in the last year’s tournament cemented Messi’s footballing legacy alongside the very finest players in history. Whilst many would already have considered the forward to be the greatest in history before the tournament, winning the World Cup allowed Messi to unequivocally stand alongside the likes of Pele and Maradona. Messi explained the love he receives from Argentinian’s now, even a year after the celebrations, is a result of winning the tournament.
Messi said of his suffering before the tournament: “I had a bad time. My family and the people who love me did too. [The critics] were very unfair to a generation of players and they said a lot of bad things about me. Today 95 percent or 100% of Argentines love me and that’s a beautiful feeling.”
On his legacy, Messi said: “I was lucky I achieved everything at club level with Barcelona and also on an individual level. [The World Cup] was the only thing that eluded me. There are very few players who can say that they have achieved everything and thanks to God I am one of them.”
Next year, Messi and Argentina will compete in the Copa America, hoping to retain their championship and add yet another medal to Messi’s collection. Given that Messi has acknowledged he is playing in the MLS’s lower division, it is unclear if he will still represent Argentina at the 2026 World Cup.