DOHA – Lionel Messi boasts multiple World Cup records. They involve one-of-a-kind goals, assists and appearances.
Barcelona's former and Paris' current talisman is seeking to surpass Pele and Miroslav Klose's achievements that the FIFA is highlighting in a report published Monday ahead of Tuesday’s semi-final tie against Croatia.
“Messi is one of only six men to have played in five World Cups alongside Antonio Carbajal, Lothar Matthaus, Rafa Marquez, Andres Guardado and Cristiano Ronaldo,” the report said.
Messi has played in 24 World Cup games, one less than Lothar Matthaus' record. If he makes it to the semifinals, third-place play-off, or final, "La Pulga Atomica" will seize the overall lead.
The World Cup has seen Messi and Rafa Marquez make a combined total of 18, which is the most of any player. Then Diego Maradona follows them (16).
Paolo Maldini holds the record for the most minutes played in the World Cup: 2,217. Messi is on 2,104 and could break the record if Argentina’s semi-final against Croatia goes to extra-time.
Messi is the only player to register an assist in five World Cups. His closest challengers are Pele, Grzegorz Lato, Diego Maradona and David Beckham, who set up goals in three editions apiece.
Pele holds the record for the most assists in the knockout phase (6). Messi has five to his name.
Gabriel Batistuta and Messi are Argentina’s joint-leading marksmen in the World Cup on 10 goals apiece. They are followed by Diego Maradona (8), Guillermo Stabile (8), Mario Kempes (6) and Gonzalo Higuain (5).
Messi is the only player to score in the World Cup in his teens, 20s and 30s. Pele missed out on accomplishing the same by four months.
Messi scored his first and latest World Cup goals 16 years and 176 days apart. The next biggest span in World Cup history belongs to Cristiano Ronaldo at 16 years and 160 days.
The Player of the Match, first awarded in 2002, has been given to Messi an unequalled nine times. His four at Brazil 2014 is a record for one edition he shares with Wesley Sneijder, who received the same at South Africa 2010.
Miroslav Klose has played in 17 World Cup victories. Messi is currently on 15. (WAM)