Pele congratulates Messi and claims “Maradona is smiling” after Argentina’s World Cup win

Brazilian icon Pele congratulates Lionel Messi and insists he now has the World Cup his career ‘deserves’… as he claims ‘Maradona is smiling’ after Argentina’s dramatic win against France

Brazilian icon Pele has congratulated Lionel Messi and Argentina after their dramatic penalty shootout victory over France in Sunday’s World Cup final.

Argentina looked set for victory after goals from Lionel Messi and Angel Di Maria gave them two goals at the break, but France hit back late on as Kylian Mbappe scored twice in as many minutes to force extra time.

The South American side went ahead once again through Messi, but Mbappe slotted home a penalty to take the game to penalties. Argentina came out on top in the penalty shootout, giving Messi the trophy he has wanted throughout his career.

Lionel Messi eventually won the World Cup as Argentina beat France on penalties in the final

Pele has congratulated Messi and Argentina after their dramatic victory in Qatar

Pele has congratulated Messi and Argentina after their dramatic victory in Qatar

Pele has been watching the World Cup from hospital while being treated for a respiratory infection, but he was able to send out a heartfelt message to Messi, while praising Mbappe who scored a hat-trick during the match and then found the net with his penalty in the penalty shootout .

“Today, football continues to tell its story, as always, in a fascinating way. Messi won his first World Cup, as his pitch deserved, Pele wrote on Instagram.

“My dear friend, Mbappé, scored four goals in a final. What a gift it was to see this spectacle for the future of our sport.’

As well as Messi claiming his first World Cup, at this year’s tournament in Qatar, Morocco became the first African nation to reach the semi-finals of football’s biggest international event.

Pele also praised Kylian Mbappe after he scored a hat-trick but still ended up on the losing side

Pele also praised Kylian Mbappe after he scored a hat-trick but still ended up on the losing side

Pele famously predicted that an African team would win the World Cup before the year 2000 at the end of their playing days.

Although it did not materialise, he acknowledged that Morocco’s run to the last four in Qatar was a major step forward for African football.

The 82-year-old then left the last word for Argentina, admitting that national hero Diego Maradona would be smiling down on the team after they ended their 36-year wait for their third World Cup.

“I couldn’t help but congratulate Morocco on the incredible campaign. It’s great to see Africa shine, Pele added.

“Congratulations Argentina! Surely Diego is smiling now.’

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