Argentina entered the final qualification match day outside the qualifying spots - and not making it to Russian Federation was a real possibility - but Messi insisted a World Cup without his country would have been "crazy". La Albiceleste's record in Ecuador can be best described as ropey: they had only won on the road there three times, in 1947, 1960 and 2001.
Having looked in danger of missing out on Russian Federation 2018, the result saw Jorge Sampaoli's men finish third in CONMEBOL qualifying.
The world's greatest player added another thrilling chapter to his legacy last night by scoring a hat-trick to send Argentina to the 2018 World Cup. However, context is everything here: Argentina had to win, the rest of the team appear to have contracted the yips, they were playing some 3,000-odd metres above sea level and, realistically, this will more than likely be Messi's last World Cup at his peak. Messi led Argentina to victory against Brazil with a 4-3 lead.
And that could deliver Messi the Ballon d'Or.
The most recent hat-trick by Messi has to be one of the most important matches that he performed in.
"There was always the fear of coming here to play".
In the 12th minute of the game, Messi scored his first goal and equalised for Argentina. "Thanks to God, we fulfilled the objective". Neutrals will also hope for a good performance from Argentina and pick three points to stay alive in the World Cup race. "The group deserved to qualify". The Switzerland vs Argentina football game played on February 29, 2012, saw Messi score his first ever global hat-trick for his national team.
"We must analyse everything that has happened so far and improve", he said. We had to play with that in mind.
'We were away from the press for a while and the people. We ended up suffering to enter this World Cup and hopefully we will get it once and for all.
Messi's intervention might have been perfectly timed. "Nahhhhhh", Donnytheprince wrote, alongside a gif of Ronaldo celebrating one of his goals against the Swedes. In 2013, Franck Ribéry had been the favourite for the award. Messi is the only player in history to win five FIFA Ballon d'Or awards and his entry into the FIFA 2018 World Cup is bound to make the game all the more fun and entertaining.