“That’s it, that’s it, that’s it.”. After pleading with Gonzalo Montiel to score his penalty and put an end to the penalty match against France, he looked up into the sky. “That’s it!”. And when he discovered them, he stood at the edge of the field, grinning broadly and flashing his teeth. He also made a gesture with his arms that simultaneously hinted at what was to happen later: After kneeling in the center circle of the Lusail stadium, Lionel Messi looked urgently for his team at the top of the boxes. Once Cachete did his thing, he hugged Leandro Paredes and then everyone else who crossed him to congratulate him on conquering the world.
In his illustrious career, Messi had one more thing to win, which he did in Qatar in 2022. There, at the entrance to the desert, Leo wrapped up his soccer career by winning the world championship. Now, his long-held desire has come true. That really did happen. Football fans had seen the image of the captain standing with the golden cup in his hands and giving it to the team so many times that they had to pinch themselves and rub their eyes to confirm that what they were seeing on television—and for a select few from the stands—was actually happening.
Without a doubt, December 18, 2022, was the before and after for the greatest player in history. He was able to view the world through fresh eyes after completing his trophy collection with the most coveted and challenging awards. He was no longer constrained by the need to meet the highest standards in order to consistently feel his best and strive for perfection. moment.
Some of the World Cup’s 2023 decisions were modified. It made him, first and foremost, an even more iconic member of the Argentine National Team. He stated in other interviews that he would have hung up the Albiceleste shirt permanently if he had not raised the Cup on Arab land. But having made so many sacrifices to get there, he now wants to give himself permission to enjoy the accolades he knows how to earn by continuing to put on the boots and defend the AFA shield, which is currently being guarded by three bright stars.
Subsequently, the man from Rosario made an unexpected and dramatic decision at the club level: he decided to sign with Inter Miami to become the new face of the United States Major League Soccer (MLS), a developing league that is far from the elite of Europe, in addition to refusing to extend his contract with Paris Saint-Germain.
Yes, that one “That’s it” farewell post in Qatar was prophetic, as it also signified that he would no longer be competing against the best players in the greatest leagues. Since? Naturally, it wasn’t as though he lacked body or level. But because he put his family and personal life first after reaching the blissful realm of eternal glory,.
Following a barrage of rumors and speculation about his future, Messi himself revealed in a lengthy interview that he was quitting the European competition and giving up on finding a new Champions League in order to move to a city he had always enjoyed for family vacations and where he could live as close to an ordinary life as possible with his wife Antonela Roccuzzo and their three children, Thiago, Mateo, and Ciro.
And so it did. After arriving in Miami, Leo went out to dine, grocery shop, stroll through public areas, visit Disney, and see his kids play soccer as a spectator. Of course, he encounters admirers everywhere he goes. You get greetings and requests for pictures, but you don’t feel bothered or singled out as you might in Paris.
From the abuse in France (including jeers and taunts from the supporters) to the serenity of Florida and the affection of the Argentines upon their repeated visits to their homeland to compete in the Scaloneta, first for the championship festivities and subsequently for the commencement of the 2026 Qualifiers.
Messi converted soccer and provided an assist to help the team advance to the Olympic stage after Nashville was defeated on penalties in the Leagues Cup, the first tournament he participated in while wearing the pink uniform of his friend David Beckham’s team. The current world champion, who transformed 10 goals, gave a speech that was heartbreaking.
Leo and his Inter Miami were unable to win that second championship, even though he had assists in the US Open Cup. Additionally, Tata Martino’s club did not achieve its goal of finishing last in the local league in order to go to the playoffs. Over the course of 13 games on North American soil, he recorded 11 goals and three assists.
In the midst, this year’s small black spot—an old injury—woke up. With a few minutes left in the South American Qualifiers, he scored a brilliant goal from a free kick to help the national team defeat Ecuador 1-0. He then made a forceful request for a change in the game played on River’s pitch.
He experienced ups and downs for several weeks after that. He was bothered by and unable to completely workout due to a scar from an old hamstring strain in his right. He had to control himself to prevent a strained muscle, which kept him out of several club games.
Even though he had to stop the ball and witness the victories over Paraguay and La Paz from the sidelines, he continued to support the national team. When playing Peru in Lima, he demonstrated his recovery and recorded a double.
For Messi, everything was back in order. And when it was his turn to accept his eighth Ballon d’Or, the world was at his feet once more. His masterwork in the Middle East brought him this honor, which is the most significant for a football player personally and is once more unachievable.
La Pulga ended the competition with another historic celebration at the Maracaná by defeating Brazil on home soil for the first time in the Qualifiers’ history, following their stumble in the Bombonera against Bielsa’s Uruguay.
“That’s it, that’s it, that’s it” . For Lionel Messi, 2023 marked the end of his first year as a world champion and the beginning of a new chapter in his football career—one in which he began to live sport from a different perspective without losing his spirit of competition. The finest of the greatest will undoubtedly aim higher in 2024, with the Copa América serving as the primary goal.