It has been almost two months since Lionel Messi captained his Argentine side to their historic third World Cup title. It was long overdue after Diego Maradona’s heroics in 1986. While the rest of the football world is submerged with the return of club football, the La Albiceleste are still reeling from their victory. As they should.
The 35-year-old’s career was replete with major team and individual trophies lacking only the glorious World Cup. After a shocking upset against Saudi Arabia in their first match in the group stage, Messi and his teammates bounced back fiercely. They went on to defeat France via penalty shootouts in one of the most exhilarating World Cup finals. Despite the French forward Kylian Mbappe ousting Messi’s brace by completing his hattrick in extra time, the Argentine took the trophy home.
Messi delivered incredible performances leading into the finals showing his spectators why he is debated to be the greatest ever. He became the only player ever to scoop two Golden Balls in the history of the tournament so far.
The ex-Barcelona legend has been promised a place in the 2026 Argentina World Cup squad by head coach Lionel Scaloni when they will be the defenders of the title. Suffice to say that the star has risen to the pedestal of a national icon in his homeland.
Soon after the World Cup victory, there were rumours surfaced claiming that the Argentina government were considering 1,000 pesos bills to bear the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner’s image. The issuance of banknotes in Messi’s honour has made a comeback but from more veritable sources this time.
Argentina is currently going through soaring rates of inflation. According to La Nacion, it reached a staggering 100 per cent in 2022.
Last week, they approved the printing of 2,000 pesos bills with the images of the nation’s renowned First Lady Dr Cecilia Grierson and first Minister of Public Health Dr Ramón Carrillo.
To curb inflation, the Argentine government is considering printing two notes of higher denominations – 5,000 and 10,000 pesos. To commemorate his World Cup heroics, the Banco de la Nación Argentina are discussing the prospect of issuing 10,000 pesos bills with the face of the La Albiceleste captain.
Silvina Batakis, the nation’s minister of economy, admitted that Messi is running at the fore as an option to be on the 10,000 pesos bill. With over 750 branches across the country, La Nacion is the bank with the most capital. She has deemed the printing of these higher denomination banknotes as a “necessity.”
In correspondence with Radio con Vos, she expressed that it was also her wish for Lionel Messi to appear on this bill. “There I would play with something that has to do with the hearts of Argentines, which is a symbolic bill that has to do with the World Cup, for example,” she said. Further elaborating on her candidate, she said, “I would totally make a [Lionel] Messi ticket.”
Additionally, it was recommended that “La Scaloneta” be imprinted on the back of the note in tribute to the head coach Scaloni.
If this becomes a reality, Messi will receive one of the highest honours any star can receive for their country. However, the Argentina government has not reached a definitive agreement as to the new notes that are going to be printed.