Winning the World Cup meant a whole life to Messi — his pulse, his purpose, his true love

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Messi won the World Cup because it was his true love. He tried, he waited, he cried, he fought, and finally it was his. For Messi, this might have not been about matching Diego Maradona or surpassing him, or ending the greatest-of-his-time debate with Cristiano Ronaldo.

For Lionel Messi, this would be the sweetest night of all, yet it could have been his cruellest night.

For much of the match, it seemed he would keep his date with destiny, rather destiny would keep its date with Messi. He saw it dwelling above his head when he looked up to take the penalty. He saw it winking at him when he threaded in the pass to Julian Alvarez that resulted in the second goal. He saw it over his shoulders when Argentina bit and barked their way to the back-end of the game.

Then he saw it slip away, cruelly, without the time to register what he was watching.

He saw it when Kingsley Coman snatched the ball and his dream from beneath his left foot. He saw it wither away when Hugo Lloris finger-tipped his devilishly late-swinging shot into the stands in the penultimate minute of the game.

Then he saw the dream smiling back at him again: a rebound fell onto his path at the 109th minute.

Finally, in the ball that sped to the bottom left corner of the goal from the boot of Montiel, he finally fulfilled his dream, his destiny. It was about him. It was about his true love. How longingly he looked at the trophy, and planted a long, lingering kiss on its crown.

It was a deeply personal moment.

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