Lionel Messi helped Argentina to its 3rd World Cup on December 18 and has since returned to French Club Paris Saint Germain to resume club duties. But the magic of winning the big one is difficult to forget as Messi on Saturday posted a photo of himself and his Argentine teammates with the World Cup trophy.
“How are they going to convince me that magic doesn’t exist?,” the photo was captioned.
Recently, Messi was awarded the ‘Champions of Champions’ award, presented to the best athlete of the year by French publication L’Equipe, on Friday for his performances with Argentina.
Voted for by the staff of the magazine, the award has been in existence since 1946 – and open to athletes outside of France since 1975 – but the stringent judgment standards made it hard for those playing team sports to win. This year, however, the top 2 were both from football.
Messi won the award by a landslide 808 points while tennis player Rafael Nadal, after his double Grand Slam winning season, cyclist Remco Evenepoel, and two-time reigning Formula One champion Max Verstappen formed the rest of the top 5.
Messi joins countryman Diego Maradona (1986), Paolo Rossi (1982), Romario (1994), and Zinedine Zidane (1998) as the only footballers to be conferred the prize. The common thread among them all – each of them led their respective countries to World Cup glory that year.
On Wednesday, Messi arrived at the PSG training ground and a guard of honour was given to him. He was handed a small trophy by sporting director Luis Campos, while he was applauded onto the training pitch..