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Lionel Messi Could Break Long-Standing 25 Game World Cup Record In Qatar

PSG forward Lionel Messi has a chance to create history at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, and not just by winning the tournament.

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Avignyan Mukhopadhyay
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PSG forward Lionel Messi has a chance to create history at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, and not just by winning the tournament.

Should his Argentina side make it to the final, and the 35-year-old features in every game, Messi will hold the record for most World Cup appearances with 26.

Should Argentina be eliminated at the semi-final stage, Lionel Messi will equal the record of 25, currently held by Lothar Matthäus of Germany.

Matthäus played in five consecutive tournaments between 1982 and 1998, boasting three final appearances and a winners medal, and Lionel Messi is set to join that exclusive club of players who have appeared in five World Cups this winter, along with will Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal and Mexican pair Andrés Guardado and Guillermo Ochoa.

Lionel Messi: Aregntina | Sportz Point

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Winning the World Cup with Argentina would arguably be the pinnacle of Messi's career but, if he can lead his country to glory in Qatar, he'll also add a piece of World Cup history to his glittering resume.

Legendary Italian defender Paolo Maldini is No 3 on the list of most matches played with 23, followed by a trio of stars on 21 games – the great Diego Maradona from Argentina, West Germany's Gerd Muller and Poland's Wladyslaw Zmuda.

Lionel Messi is likely to climb to at least fourth on that list if he plays in each of Argentina's group games in Qatar, but another potential four games in the knockout rounds could take him to the very top and 26 matches in all.

It would be another major feather in his cap and accolade in a glittering career, while if he could lift the trophy itself, will perhaps settle the debate over whether he is the greatest player ever.

It is not just Maradona in front of him in terms of Argentine players, former midfielder Javier Mascherano has 20 games at the finals. Messi moving past both of those, injuries willing, makes him at the very least the leader from his own country.

Ronaldo is already the Portuguese player with the most appearances, while he could draw level with Klose on 24 matches if the European side go all the way in Qatar.

In terms of goals scored at the finals, Messi has six so far, with the top Argentine being Gabriel Batistuta's 10.

Ronaldo has seven goals from previous tournaments and will be eyeing the Portuguese record of Eusebio, who netted nine.

Argentina Fifa World Cup 2022 Qatar World Cup 2022 Lionel Messi