Fifa 2022 final: What did Messi whisper to his late grandmother moments before Argentina won?

Ever since he turned professional, he has dedicated all his goals to his late grandmother by pointing to the sky

by

Rituraj Borkakoty

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Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

Published: Wed 18 Jan 2023, 10:47 AM

Last updated: Thu 19 Jan 2023, 7:37 AM

A month after Argentina famously beat France in a nerve-racking penalty shootout to win the 2022 Fifa World Cup in Qatar, ending Lionel Messi's wait for the only trophy missing in his cabinet, it has been revealed that the Argentine legend whispered to his late grandmother just before the final penalty kick.

After Kylian Mbappe-inspired France took the final to the penalties following a gripping 3-3 draw, Argentina and Messi were on the verge of suffering yet another heartbreak on the biggest stage.


But goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez saved France's second penalty in the shootout from Kingsley Coman before Aurelien Tchouameni missed the target, allowing Argentina's Gonzalo Montiel to take the decisive penalty.

As Montiel took the long walk to the penalty box from the centre of the field, Messi looked up to the sky and whispered: 'Puede ser hoy, abu' (It could be today, grandma!).


New footage from the World Cup final shows Messi, 35, utter those words, according to the Daily Mirror.

Montiel hit the back of the net, sparking wild celebrations at the Lusail Stadium as he ended Argentina's 36-year wait for the World Cup.

As Montiel scored the World Cup-winning penalty, Messi dropped to his knees and pointed to the sky with tears in his eyes, in what was a deeply emotional tribute to his late grandmother, Celia Olivera Cuccittini.

AP
AP

It was his grandmother that played the biggest role in Messi's growth as a footballer during his childhood days back in Argentina.

But Messi was only 11 when Cuccittini died in 1998.

In an interview with Diario Ole, Messi had revealed how his grandmother helped him chase his football dreams as a kid.

"I was small, we would all go to the neighbourhood club to where the whole family always went; my brother and cousins would all play, each in their respective category as we were all of different ages," he said.

'I was one of the youngest ones and therefore there were no categories for me yet, but one of them was missing a player and so my grandmother told the manager 'to let me play,' to which the manager replied, "How can we let him play? He is too small, he cannot play."

"Despite this, my grandmother still insisted 'let him play, let him play'.

"She was very much loved by everyone at the club and continued to demand I be put in until they did.

"I scored two goals although truthfully, I do not remember much as I was quite young, but that is the story as my grandmother used to tell it."

In football-mad Argentina, almost everyone knows the influence Cuccittini had on Messi's start as a footballer at the sub-junior level.

So much so that hundreds of fans celebrated outside of Messi's late grandmother's house in Rosario, Argentina, after he delivered a masterclass in the World Cup semifinal, helping Argentina outplay Croatia 3-0.

Ever since he turned professional, Messi has dedicated all his goals to his late grandmother by pointing to the sky.

It was only natural that the little magician was overwhelmed with emotion and memories of his grandmother in the greatest moment of his life.

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