Lionel Messi, after starting for Argentina against Mexico in their second Group C match in the FIFA World Cup, equalled the record of legend Diego Maradona as the Argentine with most World Cup appearances.
Both Messi and Maradona now have 21 World Cup appearances. The landmark comes a day after the death anniversary of Diego, when the one-time World Cup winner passed away two years ago, on November 25, 2022.
The 35-year-old surpassed the record of former Barcelona and Argentina teammate Javier Mascherano, who was previously second with 20 appearances on biggest stage of international football.
In terms of appearances from other teams, Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal, Manuel Neuer and Thomas Muller (both of Germany) are second with 17 appearances among active players in the 2022 World Cup.
Sergio Ramos, who held the record for Spain till 2018, did not make it to the squad this time and is also on 17. However, 36-year-old is unlikely to play in the 2026 edition of the tournament.
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Having started his senior career in 2005, Lionel Messi has gone on to already become the Argentina player with most caps (167) and goals (93). However, one dream that still unfulfilled for the Paris Saint-Germain forward is winning the World Cup, something Maradona did once, in 1986.
Wearing the No. 10 jersey, similar to the one Maradona used to wear, it will be interesting to see if he can rescue Argentina’s hopes of making a comeback in the FIFA World Cup 2022, after a shock loss to Saudi Arabia in its World Cup opener.