World Cup Final-2022: Mbappé – Messi, a duel for the history books


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The 2022 World Cup final between Argentina and the France team will feature a duel between two of the biggest stars in current football: Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappé. The two PSG players dream of getting their hands on the supreme football trophy to mark the history of their country again.

One is Maradona’s heir to Argentine football. The other dreams of being the spiritual successor of the Brazilian Pelé. Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappé face each other in the final in Lusail, Qatar, on Sunday December 18, with each hoping to offer a third World Cup to their country.

In the football galaxy, this is a moment in history. Like a handover between the setting sun Lionel Messi and the current comet of the round ball Kylian Mbappé. On the one hand, the Argentinian with seven Ballons d’Or who wants to win the only trophy he lacks at the age of 35. On the other, the French prodigy who saw a second coronation in a row at less than 24 years old, which would place him in the footsteps of King Pelé.


The Mbappé – Messi duel saves fans of football, sport, history and statistics. The two superstars, who team up under the Qatari banner at Paris SG, share the lead in the World Cup scorer rankings before the final, with five units. The winner will go straight for the Ballon d’Or, an eighth for Messi or the first for Mbappé.

Their president at PSG is delighted: “I’m proud to have two players, the two best players in the world, playing the final in my country, it’s the best scenario,” said Nasser Al-Khelaifi.

Asked to know for whom his heart was swinging before the final, the boss of PSG did not want to get wet: “We are a French club and my second country is France but for Messi, it is perhaps his Last World Cup. Kylian, who will play a second final in a row, it’s really magnificent. He proves that he is the best player today. I can’t wait to be at this final because it’s a great pleasure and a great pride for me as president of Paris Saint-Germain. If it only includes me, I would give the title to both,” he said.

Lionel Messi, a missing trophy

To preside over the table of Argentine legends, with the late Diego Maradona, crowned in 1986, at his side, “La Pulga” only needs this ultimate trophy: “He knows it’s his last chance”, underlines Pablo Zabaleta , his partner at the 2014 World Cup.

Unlike his first final lost that year after extra time against Germany, Messi seems surrounded in Qatar by a colony of warriors, from Leandro Paredes to Nicolas Otamendi, via Julian Alvarez, offensive revelation with four goals, like Giroud.

Will he know the glory of the “Pibe de Oro”? Or will he come out between tears and loneliness, like Cristiano Ronaldo, the other legend of his century?

For a long time, the Argentinian suffered from the comparison with his glorious elder who died, in 2020, in particular because of his disappointing results in selection, until his coronation in the final of the Copa América 2021. Above all, his discreet personality and his shyness naturalness have earned him supposed comparisons with the charismatic Maradona, with a loud voice and assumed cunning.

But in Qatar, the Argentine seemed to reinvent himself. He seems to be inhabited by the spirit of his sulphurous elder. During this World Cup, Messi added a weapon to his panoply: a touch of aggressiveness or grinta in the attitude, which is so popular in Argentina. He even displayed an unknown face of lodger, vindictive and angry after the victory of the Albiceleste against the Netherlands, with his now famous “Qué miras, bobo? (What are you looking at, moron?, Editor’s note )”, translated to an adversary.

Mbappé, the precocity of Pelé

On the side of Kylian Mbappé, we fled the cameras and the journalists during this stay in Qatar, if we except an appearance in a press conference after the match against Poland. A precocious football talent, world champion from the age of 19, Kylian Mbappé has become a master in the art of meeting expectations with records, confusing dribbling on and off the field and meticulous management of his assumed image of planetary stars.

With 250 goals scored in his first 362 matches, the player trained in Monaco surpasses the two legends of the 21st century in precocity. He will probably soon become the top scorer in the history of Paris SG, ahead of Edinson Cavani (200 goals, against 190 at “Kyky”).


And in the medium term, Olivier Giroud’s record of goals in the French team (53) will certainly fall into the hands of the insatiable striker (33, including 9 at the World Cup), already seventh in the rankings with the Blues ahead of Zinedine Zidane. . Waiting for a first Ballon d’Or?

“I always wanted to be the first everywhere, in the French team as in the club”, recognized the French No. 10 in March, a few months from the World Cup, his “obsession”.

The breakthrough times of crack are reminiscent of those of Pelé. From South America, “O Rei” finds himself in Kylian and has now dubbed him at the end of the 2018 World Cup. But “the King is still the King”, replies Mbappé, humbled by the legend and his 12 World Cup goals.

A debate settled by the final?

Will the World Cup decide on the best player in the world? No for Mario Kempes, 1978 world champion with Argentina: “Both [sont les meilleurs joueur du monde]. Mbappe is the future. Messi has long been the best player in the world. This suggests that when Messi is no longer there… Mbappé has just started or almost, even if he is already world champion”, he analyzes. “It will be a balanced match where we cannot say whether Mbappé will be better than Messi or vice versa. I believe it’s team play that will bring out one or the other as the big man of the match.”

Same warning from Hugo Lloris. The goalkeeper and captain of the Blues refuses to see the final reduced to a duel of stars: “You must not focus on two players. It’s a confrontation between two teams. When there is a player like Messi, you have to to be careful but it is a mistake to focus on it. He has a whole team at his service”, he notes. “We know what Leo Messi represents in the history of our sport, but above all it will be a match between the France team and the Argentina team.”

The World Cup in Qatar beyond football:




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