The Australian players were fans of Lionel Messi after the game, they lined up for a selfie

In the late hours of Saturday night, a group of Australian players waited patiently outside the Argentina dressing room to take a selfie with Lionel Messi – and let’s be honest, we’d all be doing the same.

The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner, a man who continues to produce on the biggest stage, scored in his 1,000th career appearance as two-time champions Argentina secured a place in the quarter-finals of world Cup.

Messi was at his breathtaking best against a resilient Australian side, who fought to the bitter end after Lionel Scaloni’s side won 2-0 thanks to goals from Julian Alvarez and that man Messi.

But that wasn’t enough as chants of ‘Messi, Messi, Messi’ echoed through the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium full time.

Lionel Messi was at his scintillating best on Saturday night.  Image credit: Alamy
Lionel Messi was at his scintillating best on Saturday night. Image credit: Alamy

About an hour later, as the raucous Argentinian fans emerged from the 40,000 capacity stadium, a number of Australian players prowled around the Albicelestes dressing room, phones in hand.

Why? Because they all wanted a picture with arguably the greatest of all time – Lionel Messi – as a reminder of what was a special night at Al Rayyan, both for Argentina and the Australian underdogs.

Graham Arnold’s side defied expectations by reaching the knockout stages and to their credit they gave the favorites a hard time on Saturday night.

As you can see in the images below, the players were delighted to have a shot with the Argentine star man. And who can blame them?

After the full-time whistle, fans and pundits alike became lyrical about Messi’s performance. Rio Ferdinand, who was joined by Gary Lineker, Alan Shearer and Pablo Zabaleta in the BBC studio, was impressed.

“Messi put in the best individual performance we’ve seen in this one-mile World Cup,” Ferdinand said.

“The crowd, it was almost divine after everything he had done. We were almost watching the reaction of the fans to everything he did.”

Shearer added: “[We are] so lucky to be in the stadium to watch it. What a second-half performance from him. His hunger, his desire and his ability to open it up to his teammates. He is history, but what a performance from Australia.”

If you missed the game, here’s a compilation of Messi’s highlights. It’s a joy to see.

Piers Morgan, meanwhile, ripped Ferdinand and Shearer for ‘fan-girling’ on Messi.

He wrote on Twitter: “The incessant fan-girling of Messi by the whole BBC punditry team is becoming excruciatingly obsequious. Worrying that one of them has an ‘accident’ in the studio.

“Calm down, guys. He had a good game against an average team. See how he does against a good team.”

What do you think of Lionel Messi’s performance against Australia on Saturday night? Can he lead Argentina to their third World Cup title this winter?

Let us know in the comments.

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