Why did Instagram block Lionel Messi? Soccer star hints at his retirement after World Cup win
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: Social media has erupted in a storm ever since soccer legend, Lionel Andrés Messi, known affectionately by his fans as Leo Messi, hinted in a recent interview that he might finally be hanging up his boots. Born on June 24, 1987, and trained on the grounds of La Masia de Can Planes, there is little that the 'little man' hasn't achieved. His stardom reportedly forced Instagram to block his account.
The legend of Messi began in the year 2002 when he was enrolled in the Royal Spanish Football Federation, playing for Barcelona, with whom he would have to part ways with a heavy heart and tear-filled eyes, years later in 2021. Messi's record with the Spanish club reflects a G.O.A.T in the making — most goals in La Liga (474), most hat-tricks in La Liga (36), and most assists in La Liga (192). The only soccer award that Messi did not have at the peak of his career was the World Cup, and he achieved it in style in 2022 when Argentina defeated France in what was arguably the most thrilling World Cup final the world has ever seen.
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Recap of Messi's World Cup triumph
On December 18, 2022, the Lusail Stadium in Qatar erupted in a frenzy when Leo Messi scored a penalty in the 23rd minute to give Argentina a 1-0 lead against reigning champions France, his 12th-ever World Cup goal, drawing level with Brazilian legend, Pele. The second goal from Ángel Di María would come in the 36th minute, and Messi would begin the play to lead to it. The 'little man' would take the ball from the centreline and flick it towards Julián Álvarez on the wing, who would pass it on to Alexis Mac Allister; as France's defenders struggled to fall back to position, Mac Allister's touch would reach Di María and Argentina would double their lead over the French.
The scoreline would be 2-0 till the 78th minute, but the match was far from over. Kylian Mbappé would not waste a penalty received by France and bring the scoreline to 2-1 in the 80th minute. The goal would even prompt French President Emmanuel Macron, watching from the stands, to jump up off of his seat and fist the air, intense emotions visible on his face. Ninety-seven seconds later, Mbappé would work his magic again with a magnificent volley, and the two teams would head into extra time with a 2-2 scoreline. The first half of extra time would see several chances, but the scoreline would not change.
Messi would then bring back the lead for Argentina in the 108th minute, but Mbappé would make sure he doesn't miss another penalty in the 118th minute. Messi would eventually kiss the World Cup after winning 4-2 in the penalties.
Why did Instagram block Leo Messi's account?
While the French left the Lusail, heartbroken, one loss away from what would have been their consecutive World Cup win, soccer lovers celebrated Messi's triumph. He was even compared to Maradona in his younger days; after all Messi would do justice to the Argentine legend's legacy. On December 18, 2022, the outpouring of passion from fans reached staggering proportions on social media.
Messi had become the true G.O.A.T of soccer of this generation, and fans did everything they could to reach out to him. So much so, that Instagram too couldn't handle the traffic to his account and gave up, opting to block him till the frenzy died out. In a 45-minute long interview with Argentine journalist Any Kusnetzoff on January 30, Messi revealed that the number of messages he received after the World Cup win even overwhelmed the social media giant. "My Instagram was blocked for a few days because of the amount of messages I received after winning the World Cup... I had a million messages on Instagram, and they blocked me," Messi reportedly said.