If Lionel Messi wasn’t already a legend in his own country, he certainly is now.
With Argentina heading into their final World Cup qualifier staring elimination in the face, the whole nation were relying on the superstar to get them to Russia.
And it looked as though Messi might be powerless as they went 1-0 down inside the first minute in their must-win clash against Ecuador.
But when you’ve got Messi in your side, you can never give up hope.
And Argentina needn’t have worried.
Messi turned the match and the whole qualification campaign on its head by scoring an incredible hat-trick to book Argentina’s plane ticket to Russia for next summer.
The whole country can breathe a huge sigh of relief after Messi bailed them out of a huge hole.
And nobody will be more relieved than Argentinan FA president, Claudio Tapia.
Tapia probably would have lost his job if Argentina failed to qualify for the World Cup. In fact, the AFA headquarters even had security barriers ready in case they didn’t beat Ecuador.
So can you imagine how happy Tapia was when Argentina booked their place at the World Cup?
Well, you don’t need to imagine because a video has emerged of how he greeted Messi in the tunnel after the game.
Tapia saw Messi coming up the steps and was clearly emotional.
He embraced him for about 10 seconds and could barely contain his sheer joy.
Watch: The Argentinian FA president and Messi
Take a look:
What a moment.
Tapia will be hoping Argentina boss Jorge Sampaoli can now work hard in the build-up to the World Cup and improve on their lacklustre performances during qualification.
It’s pretty embarrassing that a country boasting the likes of Messi, Sergio Aguero, Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain can only just scrape through qualifying.
They definitely need to stop relying on Messi, that’s for sure.
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