Lionel Messi's Heartwarming Tribute To Diego Maradona And Argentina: Full Statement
- Lionel Messi has put up an emotional post on Instagram
- Argentina lifted the 2022 World Cup on Sunday
- They defeated France on penalties in Qatar
Newly-crowned world champion, Lionel Messi, paid tribute to the late Diego Maradona and his country Argentina on Tuesday in a social media post.
Messi, in his fifth World Cup, finally embraced his long-awaited dream of winning the coveted tournament after Argentina defeated France on penalties in the 2022 World Cup final in Qatar. It was La Albicelestes' third World Cup victory, their first since 1986 that came under then-25-year-old Maradona in Mexico.
The seven-time Ballon d'Or winner, who kickstarted his football journey in 1992 at Grandoli, a club based out of Messi's hometown of Rosario, lifted the World Cup 30 years later. Eight years ago in Brazil, Messi was a win away from fulfilling his dream of winning the coveted tournament with Argentina, but his side ended up losing 1-0 in the final.
"From Grandoli to the Qatar World Cup took almost 30 years. It was close to three decades when the ball gave me many joys and also some sorrows. I always had a dream of being a World Champion and I didn't want to stop trying, even knowing that maybe I would never give up.
"This Cup we got is also from all those who did not make it in the previous World Cups we played, like in 2014 in Brazil, where they all deserved it for how they fought until the same final, worked hard and wanted it as much as I did... And we deserved it even in that damn ending," wrote Messi in an Instagram post.
Former Argentina captain Maradona, who also managed them during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, died in 2020 due to heart failure and pulmonary edema.
"It's also from Diego who encouraged us from heaven. And of all those who spent the time always benching the National Team without looking so much at the result but the desire we always put into it, also when things didn't go as we wanted. And of course, it's from all this beautiful group that was formed and of the technical team and all the people of the national team who, being anonymous, work day and night to make it easier for us.
"Many times failure is part of the journey and learning and without the disappointments, it is impossible for success to come. Thank you very much from my heart! Let's go Argentina!" added Messi in the same post.
Messi and Co reached Buenos Aires in the early hours of Tuesday and were welcomed by a sea of people while travelling in an open-air bus from the airport to their camp. Later in the day, they paraded the 2022 World Cup trophy in the same bus across the roads of the Argentinian capital city, celebrating the massive moment with their countrymen.
The national government announced a public holiday to celebrate the victory, saying in a statement, "the Argentine National Team representing this country has won the World Cup held in Qatar. That by virtue of the foregoing, it is appropriate to declare December 20, 2022 a national holiday so that the Argentine people can express their deepest satisfaction with the national team, and speak out in favour of sport and the homeland."