The internet exploded last night after Lionel Messi produced one of his best performances in a World Cup semi-final win against Croatia.
At 35, Messi is still as competitive as ever and stepped back in time with an outrageous second-half assist to pin down Julian Alvarez.
The result for Argentina means they will play either France or Morocco in the final on Sunday. The match will be the second World Cup final of his career for Messi, having also reached this stage in 2014.
Both fans and pundits were quick to praise Messi after the match. ITV pundit Roy Keane explained: “You know what, it’s a pleasure to watch it live, it really is.
“Obviously we played at a really good level, but the level at which he is, against his age, even the third goal, he’s doing it against some brilliant players, really good players.
“Honestly, it’s brilliant. Absolutely amazing. What a player, and you know what, I really hope he wins the World Cup. I think that would be the icing on the cake for the man. It’s just great, consistent.
“Listen, we’d be here all night talking about the awards he’s won. You raised that group of players. They’ve already had a couple of setbacks. The reaction after giving away the two-goal lead against the Netherlands for me summed up that team. They were on their knees but they found a way to win the game.”
Ian Wright went on to add: “In 2014, I think he was player of the tournament in that. It didn’t quite work out for him in 2018.
“The pressure he went into this one with, maybe the last one, the people talking about the team, they’re pretty good, they lost the first game – as it happened with Spain in South Africa and then they got to the final . Obviously, Spain has crossed the line.
“I think the manager understood perfectly today, his tactics, nullifying their midfield and keeping it tight.”
We searched the internet and found some of the best post-match reactions from Argentina’s convincing 3-0 win over Croatia in the World Cup semi-final.
The magic of Messi
— Connor Kalopsis (@ConnorKalopsis) December 13, 2022
Messi’s reaction to seeing Aguero give him the MOTM award is priceless 🤣🤣 pic.twitter.com/RCYCdvctN7
— Ryan (@bernardoooooV3) December 14, 2022
Is there still a debate? Ask for a goat.
— Gary Lineker 💙💛 (@GaryLineker) December 13, 2022
Better than Maradona?
I changed my mind! It was Maradona but seeing Messi I am convinced that he is the greatest we have seen in my life. Pure magic. GOAT 👍🏻🇦🇷
— John Hartson (@JohnHartson10) December 13, 2022
Scenes from Argentina
— Sacha Pisani (@Sachk0) December 14, 2022
I just noticed this. For that brilliant second #JulianAlvarez goal Julian Alvarez almost ran the length of the pitch. He was actually defending a corner in his own half before making that furious run with the ball through the Croatian defence. What a player. #World Cup 2022 pic.twitter.com/VzcXvdj72n
— Shiva Chettri (@shivachettri) December 14, 2022
One of a kind
Honestly, how were people stubborn enough to think Messi wasn’t the GOAT?
This guy does things with a ball that no one can do (except Maradona)
— Remedies (@r1medi) December 13, 2022
A beautiful moment
Beautiful interview with Messi.. pic.twitter.com/eVxJXuqJwc
— J. (@Messilizer) December 14, 2022
Dressing room scenes
– Roberto Rojas (@RobertoRojas97) December 13, 2022
Respect for Luka Modric
Luka Modric receives a standing ovation from Croatia AND Argentina fans. He is a very special man. pic.twitter.com/PNRGAXpnMu
— WolfRMFC (@WolfRMFC) December 13, 2022
To all the Messi fans I’ve had a fight with, I’m so sorry. He is the greatest player ever.
– AND. (@UtdEIIs) December 13, 2022