World Cup: Lionel Messi equals German icon Lothar Matthaus’ all-time appearance record


Lionel Messi EQUALS German legend Lothar Matthaus’ all-time World Cup appearance record of 25 in semi-final clash with Croatia

Lionel Messi has gone level with Germany legend Lothar Matthaus’ all-time World Cup appearance record. 

The Argentina captain lined up in attack as the South American side face Croatia in the Qatar World Cup semi-final on Tuesday evening. 

And starting that match has tied the 35-year-old PSG star with Matthaus in terms of appearances at the prestigious global tournament, with a total of 25.

Lionel Messi has equalled Lothar Matthaus’ all-time World Cup appearance record, with 25

Germany icon Matthaus won the World Cup in 1990 and made 150 international appearances

Germany icon Matthaus won the World Cup in 1990 and made 150 international appearances

That means Messi will move to 26 and overtake Matthaus’ record if he plays in either the final, where they would play either France or Morocco, if Lionel Scaloni’s men beat Croatia, or the third-placed play-off if they lose.

Messi, who has 170 international caps, is playing in his fourth World Cup but has never won the most coveted trophy, unlike Matthaus, who also played in four tournaments, from 1982-1998.

The 61-year-old former Bayern Munich midfielder or sweeper won the Ballon d’Or in 1990, the same year he captained Die Mannschaft to World Cup final glory against Argentina.

The Argentine captain will surpass Matthaus' record if the South American side reach the final

The Argentine captain will surpass Matthaus’ record if the South American side reach the final

Matthaus played 150 times for West Germany and Germany, scoring 23 goals, and netted 204 goals in 782 matches in all competitions across a stellar club career with Bayern, Inter Milan and Borussia Monchengladbach.

He was part of the squad in 1982 as West Germany lost the final 3-1 against Italy, and played the full match four years later as his side were beaten 3-2 by Argentina. 

Argentina’s star man that year was Diego Maradona – the iconic attacking midfielder who Messi is hoping to emulate by leading the Albiceleste to a World Cup triumph.

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