Lionel Messi has equalled Lothar Matthaus’s record for most appearances in the FIFA World Cup. The 35-year-old went into Qatar 2022 outside the top 10, having played 19 games in the World Cup. He equalled and surpassed the Argentina record, which belonged to Diego Maradona thanks to his 21 outings, and has now moved level with Matthaus on 25 appearances by taking to the field against Croatia. Messi has also surpassed Rafa Marquez to become the player with most World Cup appearances as captain (17). Messi is one of only eight men to go to five World Cups and six to play in five. He is also the only player to have registered an assist in five World Cups, with no other player managing to do it in more than three.
Most appearances in World Cup history
Lothar Matthaus (25) Lionel Messi (25) Miroslav Klose (24) Paolo Maldini (23) Cristiano Ronaldo (22) Diego Maradona (21) Uwe Seeler (21) Władyslaw Zmuda (21) Cafu (20) Philipp Lahm (20) Grzegorz Lato (20) Javier Mascherano (20) Bastian Schweinsteiger (20)