Lionel Messi is mobbed by his mother Celia on the pitch after Argentina’s stunning World Cup final win over France, before his three sons and wife Antonella join him to celebrate
In the moments after the most gripping World Cup final in history had been won by Argentina, Lionel Messi was mobbed on the pitch by his jubilant mother after the striker finally won the one trophy to have evaded him in his career.
Celia Maria Cuccittini was caught on camera in her Argentina shirt rushing up to her son, fighting back tears. Messi was looking the other way as she made her way up to him and the emotional moment she caught him off-guard as he saw her for the first time as a World Cup winner was caught on camera.
Messi scored twice in the game and once more from the penalty spot as Argentina tied 3-3 with France after extra-time before winning 4-2 on penalties. Messi’s club teammate at Paris Saint-Germain, Kylian Mbappe, scored a hat-trick for France but was still on the losing team.
In the moments between the game ending and the trophy lift, Messi’s children also made it onto the pitch. He has three sons – Thiago, Mateo and Ciro – with his childhood sweetheart Antonella Roccuzzo.
Lionel Messi’s mother Celia ran onto the pitch to celebrate with him after Argentina’s sensational World Cup victory over France in Qatar on Sunday
Messi celebrated with close family in the moments before he got his hands on the trophy
Celia (right) watches her son from the stands during the most dramatic World Cup final in memory – Argentina would eventually defeat France on penalties
Argentina led the final on two separate occasions but France fought back both times to take the game to penalties before Messi and his team eventually emerged victorious
The emotional scenes played out in the aftermath of the most dramatic World Cup final ever. Messi scored a penalty to put Argentina into the lead in the first half, before Angel di Maria doubled the lead with a phenomenal sweeping passing move.
For most of the second half, it looked like Argentina was set to cruise to glory but an 80th minute penalty for Mbappe sparked France back into action.
Mbappe then, a minute later, equalized with a stunning shot of his own to send the game into extra-time and all the momentum felt like it had left Messi and Argentina.
But Messi had another moment to strike, scoring from close range in the 108th minute. For the second time, it looked like Argentina were moments away from glory but France again fought back.
Mbappe converted once more from the penalty spot after a handball to take the game to penalties.
Messi and Mbappe both scored their penalties, but Kingsley Coman and Aurelian Tchouameni both missed for France as Argentina won 4-2 from the spot.
Messi and wife Antonella take a selfie on the pitch after Argentina won the World Cup
Messi’s family made it onto the pitch to celebrate moments after the incredible victory
The dramatic win on penalties saw Messi finally win the one trophy that had evaded him
For Messi and his family, it is the one crucial trophy that was missing from his incredible career.
In the eyes of many, it now finally silences the debate around Messi being the best soccer player ever – moving him ahead of Pele, Diego Maradona and modern day rival Cristiano Ronaldo.
Messi met his wife Antonella when he was only five years old – she is the cousin of one of his boyhood friends – in La Rosario, Argentina.
Messi left his home country when he was just 13 to join Barcelona’s prestigious La Masia youth academy, where he honed the skills that have made him one of the greats.
He and Antonella married in 2017 back in their hometown, which is around 200 miles away from Buenos Aires.
Messi as mobbed by friends and family in the epic celebrations after a gripping game
The victory sees the 35-year-old Messi finally clinch World Cup glory in his incredible career
Messi celebrates in front of Argentina’s euphoric fans after finally lifting the trophy
What comes next for Messi and his family remains to be seen. He has been strongly linked with a move to the United States next summer, with David Beckham’s Inter Miami very keen to bring him to Major League Soccer.
His current contract with French team Paris Saint-Germain expires at the end of the 2022-23 club season but he does have an options to extend it for another year.
He is not expected to retire from international soccer after Sunday’s victory. It was thought that at 35, Messi must take greater care amid the demands of a soccer calendar that continues to expand.
It could have meant he bows out at the very top of the game for Argentina, with 98 goals in 172 games and the biggest trophy of them all in his hands. But he has told reporters he wants to play for Argentina as a World Cup champion.