How many goals does messi have in the world cup ? With over 750 senior goals for club and country, Lionel Messi’s credentials as one of the greatest goal scorers in football history are beyond any doubt.
However, the Argentinian master had struggled to live up to these lofty standards on the FIFA World Cup stage until an incredible showing Qatar 2022, which helped Argentina to their third world title.
Lionel Messi has scored 13 goals in 26 matches at the FIFA World Cup, spanning five editions (2006, 2010, 2014, 2018 and 2022). Messi is the highest goal-scorer for Argentina at the football World Cup.
The stats put Leo Messi’s scoring rate at football World Cups at 0.50 goals per game. Though an impressive number, it is lower than the 0.56 goals per game he boasts in his international outings with Argentina.
Lionel Messi has netted 98 goals in 172 international matches in his career, making him the top goal scorer of all time for Argentina. Messi is also third on the list of highest goal scorers in international football and second amongst active players, only behind rival Cristiano Ronaldo.
At the World Cups, Messi features a little lower down the list. Germany’s Miroslav Klose (16 goals from 24 matches) is the highest scorer at the quadrennial meet.
Before Messi, Gabriel Batistuta (10 goals from 12 matches) was Argentina’s most prolific scorer at FIFA World Cups. Diego Maradona (21 matches) and Uruguay 1930 Golden Boot winner Guillermo Stabile (four matches) have scored eight goals each.
Lionel Messi also has an impressive goal-scoring record in FIFA World Cup qualifiers, having netted 28 times in 60 appearances.
Lionel Messi came at the FIFA World Cup 2022 at the age of 35 and improved his World Cup goal-scoring record considerably in Qatar.
Here’s a look at the Argentinian icon’s goals at the FIFA World Cup.
Lionel Messi first FIFA World Cup goal
Lionel Messi scored his first goal in the football World Cup at the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany against Serbia and Montenegro in Argentina’s second Group C clash at the FIFA World Cup Stadium in Hamburg.
After witnessing his team beat Ivory Coast 2-1 in their group opener from the bench, Lionel Messi made his World Cup debut against Serbia and Montenegro in the following fixture after coming off the bench in the 75th minute.
Argentina were already leading 3-0 at the time and just three minutes into his debut, Lionel Messi assisted Hernan Crespo for Argentina’s fourth goal of the match. In the 88th minute, Messi got on the scoresheet after latching onto a Carlos Tevez pass and beating the opposition goalkeeper at the near post to complete a 6-0 drubbing.
With his maiden goal at the global showpiece, Lionel Messi, then 18 years and 357 days old, became Argentina’s youngest scorer at the FIFA World Cup.
Argentina coach Jose Pekerman handed Lionel Messi his first FIFA World Cup start in a 0-0 draw against the Netherlands and the teenager also made a substitute appearance as Argentina beat Mexico 2-1 in the round of 16. He, however, was an unused substitute as Germany knocked Argentina out through penalties in the quarter-final.
Disappointment at South Africa 2010
Unlike the 2006 World Cup, where he came in as an up-and-coming teenager, Lionel Messi had the burden of expectations stacked on him for the 2010 FIFA World Cup held in South Africa.
Leo Messi had, after all, set the bar high following his exploits with Barcelona and guiding Argentina to the Olympic gold medal at Beijing 2008. However, the script didn’t quite play out as planned for the Argentinian maestro.
Argentina made it to the quarters again before being ousted by Germany but Messi, despite contributing heavily to the team throughout, remained goalless in his five matches. His only goal contribution at the edition was an assist to Carlos Tevez during Argentina’s 3-1 win over Mexico in the round of 16.
Bittersweet Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup
After the 2010 campaign, Lionel Messi had a lot to prove by the time the FIFA World Cup 2014 in Brazil rolled in. This time, the little maestro took the tournament by the scruff of the neck.
Lionel Messi, with four goals and one assist in seven matches, almost single-handedly dragged Argentina to the final but eventually, Messi and Co. fell short after Germany, again, beat them 1-0 in the final.
Two of his goals came in a 3-2 win over Nigeria in a group match. It’s the only time Lionel Messi has scored more than one goal in a single FIFA World Cup match.
Besides being the top scorer for his team in the 2014 World Cup, Lionel Messi was adjudged the best player of the tournament and won the Golden Ball award.
Early exit at Russia 2018
The FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia saw Argentina knocked out in the round of 16 by eventual champions France.
Lionel Messi, despite missing a potential match-winning penalty against Iceland in Argentina’s first game, however, was the standout player for Argentina in what was otherwise a disappointing campaign for the South Americans.
Messi’s only goal in the tournament came in the final group match against Nigeria, setting the tone for a 2-1 win. It was a virtual playoff game for both sides to make it to the knockouts.
With his goal against Nigeria in the 2018 edition, Messi, interestingly, became the first player in history to score in the FIFA World Cup in his teens, twenties and thirties.
Even during the 4-3 loss to France in the final-eight clash, Messi was the one who kept Argentina’s hopes alive right till the end, assisting two of his team’s three goals.
Ultimate glory at Qatar 2022
Lionel Messi, 35, came into the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar with a lot of expectations and delivered brilliantly, scoring seven goals in as many matches. He fell one short of Kylian Mbappe’s tally and missed out on the Golden Boot, but it was enough to win Argentina a historic third World Cup title after 36 years.
Two of his goals came in the final vs France and the tournament saw Messi score in each of the four knockout rounds – previously unprecedented in the FIFA World Cup.
WHO HAS THE MOST WORLD CUP GOALS?
It’s not Pele, or Diego Maradona, or (the Brazilian) Ronaldo who has the most World Cup goals. It is, in fact, Germany’s Miroslav Klose.
His compatriot Gerd Muller held the record from 1974 with his 14th goal that came in the final for West Germany against the Netherlands. He surpassed France’s Just Fontaine, who scored 13 goals from six games.
Ronaldo took Muller’s mantle in 2006 when he netted his 15th World Cup goal, before Klose set a new target of 16 goals by scoring in Germany’s famous 7-1 victory against Brazil in the 2014 semi-final.
Of current players, Lionel Messi – with 13 – has the highest tally at World Cups, tying him fourth on the all-time list. However, Kylian Mbappe is already on 12 goals at the age of just 23 following his hat-trick in the 2022 World Cup final.
WHO HAS MORE WORLD CUP GOALS – LIONEL MESSI OR CRISTIANO RONALDO?
The never-ending Lionel Messi v Cristiano Ronaldo debate can’t yet be settled by the World Cup, with neither player totally shining on football’s biggest stage.
Both players have competed at every World Cup since 2006 and it was Ronaldo who had the slight edge coming into the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, having scored seven goals.
And he has made history in Qatar, becoming the first player to score at five consecutive World Cups with a goal against Ghana. His total tally stands at 8.
Messi had six goals at the World Cup coming into the tournament. He failed to score in South Africa 2010 where Argentina lost in the quarter-finals to Germany.
However, he opened his account against Saudi Arabia at the 2022 World Cup with 10 minutes on the clock to take his tally to seven. They would lose the match 2-1.
Ronaldo netted his eighth goal in a World Cup with a penalty in Portugal’s opening match of the 2022 tournament against Ghana, becoming the first player to score in five tournaments.
Messi then matched that with a fabulous effort against Mexico in Argentina’s second match. That goal took him to eight as well.
It looked like Ronaldo had added another against Uruguay when he jumped to flick in a cross, but he didn’t get a touch and the goal was credited to Bruno Fernandes.
Messi had the chance to move ahead of his rival after Argentina were awarded a penalty in their final group game against Poland, however saw his kick saved by Wojciech Szczesny, while Ronaldo was taken off in the 65th-minute during the 2-1 defeat to South Korea without registering on the scoresheet.
Messi soon moved clear at the next opportunity after firing the opener in Argentina’s clash with Australia in the last 16, whereas Ronaldo was denied the opportunity to add to his tally from the start after he was benched for the match against Switzerland.
The Argentine would then add another goal to his tally – a penalty – in the quarter-final against the Netherlands, giving his side a 2-0 lead. That goal took Messi to 10, with Ronaldo on eight. Argentina went on to win the shoot-out after the Dutch made it 2-2 and force extra-time. Lautaro Martinez of Inter Milan scored the winning penalty.
Ronaldo was then knocked out of the tournament after coming on as a second-half substitute when Portugal were beaten 1-0 by Morocco in the quarter-finals.
But Messi went on to the semis and found the net against Croatia to take his overall tally to 11.
He then built on that with a 12th World Cup goal with a penalty to open the scoring in the final against France.
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