Manchester City was not just represented by many players at the World Cup, the club had a winner at the end of the tournament. The last Cityzen standing in the global showpiece, Julian Alvarez, ended up lifting the trophy with Argentina.
Although the City forward could not add to his goal tally in the final, he played most of the game before being substituted towards the end of the second half. It was a game that served up a lot of drama as Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe were in a head-to-head duel to outdo each other.
In the end the duo could only be separated by penalty shootout as the game ended 3-3 even after extra-time. Two misses French players during the penalty shootout meant Argentina ran away with a 4-2 victory via penalties.
The victory turned into a fairy tale ending for Messi, who has had an exceptional career so far. Considered one of the greatest players ever to grace the game, the midfield maestro was lacking just one piece of silverware in his stupendously rich trophy cabinet.
His team-mate at club level Mbappe threatened to derail the dream by scoring two quick-fire goals to level the scores after Argentina had led 2-0 for much of the encounter. The South American giants were in total control of the game until late in the second half.
As if back from the dead, defending champions France suddenly found their way back into the match through Mbappe’s heroics. The Paris Saint Germain forward even netted a hat-trick to bring the French side level again after Messi gave his team the lead with his second goal of the match.
But Alvarez and Messi alongside former Blue, Nicolas Otamendi, had the last laugh as they won through penalties.
City legend Sergio Aguero also joined in the celebrations. The former striker suffered many disappointments with the national team but was happy to see his close pal Messi finally lift the trophy for his homeland.
Alvarez will return to the Etihad Stadium full of confidence after a strong showing at the biggest stage for national football. With Erling Haaland holding sway as the main striker for City, it remains to be seen if Pep Guardiola will consider partnering him with the Argentine.
Having established a rhythm of playing consistently for his national side, continuing in that form can only benefit City. The manager will need to find a way to give him more playing time alongside Haaland.