Lionel Messi is attacked by his mother Celia on the pitch after Argentina’s stunning World Cup victory over France, before his three sons and wife Antonella join him for the celebration.
In the moments after Argentina won the biggest World Cup final in history, Lionel Messi was assaulted on the pitch by his beaming mother after the forward finally won the only trophy he had eluded in his career.
Celia Maria Cuccittini was caught on camera wearing an Argentina jersey as she lunged towards her son while fighting back tears. Messi was looking the other way as she made her way towards him and was stunned by the emotional moment that caught his eye when he saw her for the first time when the camera caught a World Cup winner.
Messi scored twice in the match and again from the penalty spot as Argentina drew 3-3 with France after extra time before winning 4-2 on penalties. Messi’s PSG teammate, Kylian Mbappe, scored a hat-trick for France but was still on the losing side.
In the moments between the end of the game and the lifting of the trophy, Messi’s children also took to the field. He has three sons – Thiago, Mateo and Ciro – with his childhood sweetheart, Antonella Roccuzzo.
Lionel Messi’s mother ran onto the pitch to celebrate with him after Argentina’s thrilling World Cup victory over France in Qatar on Sunday.
Messi celebrated with his close family in the moments leading up to his trophy
Celia (right) watches her son from the stands during the most dramatic World Cup final in memory – Argentina would eventually defeat France on penalties
Argentina led the final on two separate occasions but France fought back both times to take the match to penalties before Messi and his team eventually emerged victorious.
Emotional scenes unfolded in the aftermath of the most exciting World Cup ever. Messi scored a penalty to put Argentina ahead in the first half, before Ángel Di Maria doubled the lead with a superb sweeping passing movement.
For most of the second half, it looked like Argentina were on their way to glory, but an 80th-minute penalty kick by Mbappe put France back in action.
Then, a minute later, Mbappe equalized with a stunning shot of his own to send the game into extra time and all the momentum felt left by Messi and Argentina.
But Messi had another moment to attack, scoring from close range in the 108th minute. For the second time, it looked like Argentina were moments away from glory but France fought back again.
Mbappe converted again from the penalty spot after a handball to take the match to penalties.
Messi and Mbappe both scored penalties, but Kingsley Coman and Aurelien Tchoameni missed a penalty for France as Argentina won 4-2 from the penalty spot.
Messi and his wife Antonella take a selfie on the pitch after Argentina’s World Cup victory
The Messi family took to the field to celebrate moments after the stunning win
The dramatic penalty shoot-out victory saw Messi finally win the only title he had escaped
For Messi and his family, this is the crucial trophy that has been missing from his amazing career.
In the eyes of many, this game finally quelled the debate about Messi being the best soccer player of all time – putting him ahead of Pele, Diego Maradona and his modern-day rival, Cristiano Ronaldo.
Messi met his wife, Antonella, when he was just five years old – who is the cousin of one of his childhood friends – in La Rosario, Argentina.
Messi left his home country when he was just 13 years old to join Barcelona’s prestigious La Masia youth academy, where he honed the skills that made him one of the greats.
He and Antonella married in 2017 in their hometown, about 200 miles from Buenos Aires.
Messi roams among friends and family in epic celebrations after a thrilling match
The win sees the 35-year-old Messi finally snatch World Cup glory in his amazing career
Messi celebrates in front of the jubilant Argentine fans after finally lifting the trophy
What comes next for Messi and his family is not yet clear. He has been strongly linked with a move to the US next summer, with David Beckham at Inter Miami keen to bring him to Major League Soccer.
His current contract with French club Paris Saint-Germain expires at the end of the 2022-23 season, but he has options to extend it for another year.
He is not expected to retire from international football after Sunday’s victory. It was believed that, at the age of 35, Messi should take a closer look amid the demands of football’s ever-expanding calendar.
It would have meant he would come out on top for Argentina, scoring 98 goals in 172 matches and having the biggest trophy in his hands. But he told reporters he wanted to play for Argentina as World Cup champions.
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