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Lionel Messi is one step away from becoming more legendary than Diego Maradona

Lionel Messi needs to win the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar to cement his legacy as the greatest Argentine player to ever live, surpassing the late, great Diego Maradona.

Messi, 35, scored his first-ever goal in the knockout stage of a World Cup to defeat Australia and become his country's second-highest goalscorer in the tournament's history.

2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar Round of 16: Recap and goals from Argentina 2-1 Australia

His ninth World Cup goal takes him ahead of Maradona and one behind all-time leader Gabriel Batistuta.

The goal against Australia improves Messi's tally to three goals in Qatar 2022, scoring on Saudi Arabia and Mexico.

Messi now has 789 goals in 1,000 professional career matches for both club and country.

Messi's World Cup goals

  1. Germany 2006 | vs. Serbia and Montenegro | Group Stage
  2. Brazil 2014 | vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina | Group Stage
  3. Brazil 2014 | vs. Iran | Group Stage
  4. Brazil 2014 | vs. Nigeria | Group Stage
  5. Brazil 2014 | vs. Nigeria | Group Stage
  6. Russia 2018 | vs. Nigeria | Group Stage
  7. Qatar 2022 | vs. Saudi Arabia | Group Stage
  8. Qatar 2022 | vs. Mexico | Group Stage
  9. Qatar 2022 | vs. Australia | Round of 16

Messi more legendary than Maradona?

Argentina fell short in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, losing the final to Germany in overtime.

Messi is likely playing the last World Cup of his career, so if he doesn't win, he will never compare to Maradona.

Maradona went 1-1 in World Cup finals, so Messi would end his career with the same record if he leads Argentina to glory.

Messi is already Argentina's all-time leading scorer and has the most international caps, but he needs to win the World Cup is he wants to leave no doubt about being the best to ever play.

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