There is a hypothetical scenario in which the 2022 World Cup final in Qatar could also be Lionel Messi‘s 1,000th game as a professional football player.
The Argentina international has played a total of 990 matches, including 826 with Barcelona (691 goals and 326 assists) and 48 with Paris Saint-Germain (19 goals and 23 assists), while he also has 164 caps (90 goals and 51 assists) for the Albiceleste.
in (19 goals and 23 assists), while he also has 164 caps (90 goals and 51 assists) for the Albiceleste.
This means that he is 10 games short of reaching 1,000 matches. Should Argentina reach the final, Messi will have 14 games to play, including six with PSG and eight with Argentina (seven in the World Cup and one friendly prior the tournament).
Messi’s schedule up to a hypothetical World Cup final:
Lorient vs PSG (Ligue 1)
PSG vs Auxerre (Ligue 1)
United Arab Emirates vs Argentina (friendly)
Argentina vs Saudi Arabia (Group Stage – World Cup)
Argentina vs Mexico (Group Stage – World Cup)
Poland vs Argentina (Group Stage – World Cup)
Round of 16 (World Cup)
Quarter-finals (World Cup)
Semi-finals (World Cup)
Final (World Cup)
He should, therefore, rest for four matches for his 1,000th game to coincide with the final in Qatar.
But this is not the only record that Messi can break, as he will join Antonio Carvajal, Gianluigi Buffon, Rafa Marquez and Lothar Matthaus in the club of the players with appearances in five World Cups.
He played in Germany in 2006 (quarter-finals), South Africa in 2010 (quarterfinals), Brazil in 2014 (runner-up) and Russia 2018 (round of 16).
The former Barcelona captain has 19 World Cup appearances to date. Should he play the seven matches leading up to the Qatar 2022 final, he would overtake Matthaus (25) as the player with the most games (26) in the history of the tournament.
Matching the two records is not any easy task as Argentina, who have won the Copa America for the first time in 28 years and are unbeaten in 35 matches under Lionel Scaloni, should go all the way to the final and win it.
“With our feet on the ground and humility but we are ready to go against anyone in the world,” said Messi after Argentina’s 3-0 win over Italy in the ‘Finalissima’.