Current Paris Saint-Germain player, flamboyant forward who has made fans around the world dream, Lionel Messi will play his fifth World Cup in less than two weeks. From his debut in Germany in 2006 to the disappointment in Russia four years ago to the disappointment in 2014 in Brazil, “Leo” Messi has had ups and downs in a competition in which he has made his mark and which he will look to win this year to complete a palmares missing only the best international trophy.
2006 World Cup: a taste of the World Cup and first goal at just 18 years old
At the end of his first season with the professional team of FC Barcelona, the Argentine sees his name among the players called up to play the World Cup in Germany.
Despite a rotating player role, he will open his World Cup match at 18 years and 357 days against Serbia-Montenegro with a magnificent result after coming into play shortly after giving Hernan Crespo an assist. Elusive and always available in the Argentine midfield, he created multiple chances before being thrown to the right and beating the opposing goalkeeper with a nice right-footed shot.
Without real chemistry, the Albiceleste will end up losing to Germany, the host nation, on penalties in a quarter-final where the Argentine genius would not have made his appearance on the lawn.
2010 World Cup: a sensational tournament before another elimination against Germany
Four years after being eliminated in the quarter-finals, Argentina arrives in South Africa with the status of favorites and a new star in their sport: Lionel Messi. Pichichi de Liga, top scorer in the Champions League and European golden shoe, the Argentine made his mark in the 2009/2010 season and is playing his second World Cup with his colors in an undisputed starting role.
Crucial to his team’s victories, he will lead his team to three wins against Nigeria, South Korea and finally Greece. A decisive passer-by in the second round against Mexico, which still remains one of the Argentine’s most successful matches at the World Cup.
Once again opposed to Germany in the quarter-finals, it is no longer a defeat on the wire but a first shipwreck that the Argentines suffer with a 4-0 for the Germans that puts an end to the ambitions of the Argentine selection and a Lionel Messi who starts again without having passed a milestone in the competition.
2014 World Cup: best player of the competition despite a resounding failure in the final
Announced in physical decline, not quite ready to bring his selection to world success, the Argentine is still the owner and leader of the Argentine team that will represent the colors of the neighboring country in Brazil.
With four goals scored in the group stage and high-quality performances in the round of 16 against Switzerland or even in the quarter-finals against Belgium, Lionel Messi reached the World Cup final after a closed semi-final for the first time in his career against … Germany, executioner of the Argentines for two editions of the World Cup.
Very well muzzled by a very strict German defense, defending low enough and blocking many of the FC Barcelona player’s passing possibilities, Lionel Messi is still the creator of his team which rather dominates the debates before to bow over a goal from Mario Götze right in the end of extra time. The result is cruel for a Lionel Messi who has so far won nothing with his selection and who begins to believe in some kind of curse.
2018 World Cup: an uninspired World Cup weighed down by a divided dressing room
Disappointing after a group stage undermined by a three-to-zero defeat to Croatia, the Argentine side are not exactly mentioned among the favorites for the title during the competition due to some internal disorder.
Second place in their group brought the Argentines against the French into the round of 16 for a match that all of France remembers, a magical goal from Benjamin Pavard in particular, sealing Argentina’s hopes in the competition. It is then that the disagreements inside the Argentine locker room will be revealed in broad daylight with very little reaction from a Lionel Messi who, as often, never really had the behavior of a leader off the pitch that he had for technical mastery on the lawn. .