Lionel Messi has become the ninth player to win the World Cup, Champions League and Ballon d’Or after finally winning the showpiece in his last game for Argentina.
It was his seventh goal of the 2022 tournament and his 12th in 26 games across five World Cups. Messi then produced a deft flick in the build-up for Argentina’s second – scored by Di Maria after a sweeping counter-attack dismantled France.
Just when it looked it was a foregone conclusion, Messi’s PSG colleague Kylian Mbappe scored twice in quick succession out of nowhere to level matters late in the game and take the contest to extra time.
Messi put Argentina back in the lead with what looked like the winner but then Mbappe netted another spot-kick to complete a World Cup final hat-trick and force penalties.
Irrespective of the result Messi had already set a new record after breaking Lothar Matthaus’ all-time World Cup appearance record.
But the long-awaited triumph, in his final game for his country, also sees him join an exclusive nine-man list of triple crown champions.
Image: AlamyBobby Charlton was the first do it back in 1968, winning the European Cup with Manchester United two years after England won the World Cup on home turf.
The last player (prior to Messi), was Brazilian sensation Kaka, who became a Ballon d’Or winner in 2007 after a stellar year with AC Milan.
Messi, of course, has claimed the coveted individual prize on SEVEN occasions. Until last year he had failed to win any silverware with Argentina and many still felt he was in the shadow of idol Diego Maradona.
However, he now has the Copa America, CONMEBOL–UEFA Cup of Champions and World Cup in his packed trophy cabinet.
Here is the full list of players to have completed football.
Bobby Charlton: World Cup (1966 with England), Ballon d’Or (1966), European Cup (1968 with Manchester United)
Franz Beckenbauer: World Cup (1974 with Germany), Ballon d’Or (1972, 1976), European Cup (1974, 1975, 1976 with Bayern Munich)
Gerd Muller: World Cup (1974 with Germany), Ballon d’Or (1970), European Cup: 1974, 1975, 1976 with Bayern Munich)
Paolo Rossi: World Cup (1982 with Italy), Ballon d’Or (1982), European Cup (1985 with Juventus)
Zinedine Zidane: World Cup (1998 with France), Ballon d’Or (1998), Champions League (2002 with Real Madrid)
Rivaldo: World Cup (2002 with Brazil), Ballon d’Or (1999), Champions League (2003 with AC Milan)
Ronaldinho: World Cup (2002 with Brazil)), Ballon d’Or (2005), Champions League (2006 with Barcelona)
Kaka: World Cup (2002 with Brazil ), Ballon d’Or (2007), Champions League (2007 with AC Milan)
Lionel Messi? World Cup (2022 with Argentina), Ballon d’Or (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2019, 2021), Champions League (2006, 2009, 2011, 2015 with Barcelona)