LIONEL MESSI cemented himself further as a footballing legend by becoming the first Argentine to lift the World Cup since Diego Maradona.
The PSG superstar helped end his nation’s agonising 36 year wait to bring the gold home.
Messi scored twice in the 3-3 final draw with France and netted in the shootout Argentina eventually won.
Afterwards, he recreated the famous shot of his idol Maradona lofting the trophy in the air.
The pair of left-footed icons are among the greatest sports stars to ever live, boasting almost unmatched records.
On the international stage, both now have a World Cup winners medal, almost four decades apart.
But what Messi also has is a Copa America trophy to his name, which he won last year.
In his 172 Argentina games, he has scored 98 times which averages at around a goal every other game.
Meanwhile, Maradona retired with 34 in his 91 matches, just over a goal every two games.
At club level, Messi established himself with Barcelona, before infamously leaving on a free transfer in the summer of 2021.
During his 17 years at the Nou Camp, he scored 672 goals in 778 appearances.
At Barcelona, he won ten LaLiga titles and four Champions League-winning medals.
His scoring form with PSG has suffered slightly, with only 23 in 53 games but he has Ligue 1 and French Cup-winning medals to go with it.
Overall, Messi has won 39 trophies during his career, compared to Maradona’s 11.
The midfield maestro – who died in June – won the Argentine league in 1981 with Boca Juniors before moving to Barcelona.
In Spain, Maradona won three domestic cups, helping him sign for Napoli in Italy.
There, he won the league title twice as well as two domestic trophies and a Uefa cup.
Maradona’s total numbers of club goal and appearances are disputed, but it is widely reported as 259 in 490 games.
As individuals, Messi has a record SEVEN Ballon d’Or wins to his name.
Maradona was never eligible for the prize, because at the time it was only available to European players playing in Europe.
Eventually, Fifa merged their Player of the Year award with the Ballon d’Or.
Maradona in 2000 won Fifa’s Player of the Century and was in 1995 handed a Ballon d’Or for services to football.
His talents took him to management, working with Messi while in charge of the national team.
And 12 years later, Messi emulated his great idol by lifting the World Cup aloft in celebration.
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