Less than 24 hours after helping his nation win the World Cup and securing his place in football lore, Lionel Messi is on his way back to Argentina.
The 35-year-old posted a photo of himself holding football’s most prized trophy on Instagram to let his 399 million followers know that the Alibiceleste were on their way, while also sporting his national team training jumper and seated on the plane. His teammate and fellow goal scorer in the decisive game, Angel Di Maria, also shared a picture online.
Argentina and France pulled to a 3-3 draw in what was perhaps the most exciting World Cup final in history, including a showdown between Messi and Kylian Mbappe on the world’s grandest stage.
The pair did not let their fans down. Lionel Messi scored a brace each side of Angel Di Maria’s goal to give Argentina a 2-0 lead, and Mbappe became just the second player in World Cup final history to score a hat-trick. Messi and Mbappe both scored in the penalty shootout as the game ended on penalties.
Gonzalo Montiel stepped up to take the game-winning kick after Aurelien Tchouameni and Ousmane Dembele missed, sending Argentine supporters around the world into raptures as Lionel Scaloni’s team won their third World Cup in history.
Nicolas Otamendi uploaded a photo of himself grinning widely and proudly carrying the trophy, continuing the recent trend of joyful plane photos. Late Sunday night, the former Manchester City center-back posted a photo of himself kissing the World Cup in what appeared to be a hotel room on Instagram.
Late on Sunday night, with feelings still high, Messi uploaded a collection of photos showing him holding the one trophy that had eluded him for so long along with an emotional, protracted message.