Of the 14 players that featured for Argentina in their 2014 World Cup final defeat to Germany, Lionel Messi is the only player that remains for the 2022 final in Qatar.
Alejandro Sabella’s Albiceleste made it all the way to the Maracana in Brazil, but they couldn’t get their hands on the trophy after Mario Gotze’s extra-time finish secured a 1-0 victory for Die Mannschaft at the iconic Maracana stadium in Rio De Janeiro.
We all know what Messi’s doing now, but what became of the 13 other players that featured for Argentina that night? We’ve taken a look to see what they’re up to today.
GK: Sergio Romero
Numero Uno for Argentina whilst so often a back-up in his club career, Romero’s journey was a unique one.
Despite featuring in Argentina’s run to the World Cup final, he couldn’t displace Emiliano Viviano at Sampdoria and went on to join Manchester United in 2015, spending six seasons as a bench-warmer for David de Gea.
Romero stood between the sticks throughout United’s 2016-17 Europa League campaign, which remains the club’s last piece of silverware. He joined Serie A fashion icons Venezia back in 2021 and is now back in Argentina with Boca Juniors, though he’s yet to make his debut for the club.
RB: Pablo Zabaleta
The former right-back made 58 appearances for his country and over 300 for Manchester City, winning two Premier League titles over the course of his time at the Etihad.
He joined West Ham in 2017 and spent three years in East London before retiring at the age of 35 in 2020. He’s since become a pundit and has appeared frequently on the BBC over the course of Qatar 2022.
“An angry Messi is something we love to see,” Zabaleta said of Messi’s spiky side following the quarter-final victory over the Netherlands.
“It reminded me a little of Maradona, that kind of character, and that is not a bad thing when you are trying to win a World Cup.”
Diego Maradona or Lionel Messi, @pablo_zabaleta?
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) December 3, 2022
CB: Martin Demichelis
Having made a shaky start to life at Manchester City, there was a time in which Demichelis was written off as something of a joke figure.
But the centre-back put that behind him, starring in City’s 2013-14 title victory before establishing himself in Argentina’s best XI in Brazil, drafted in to help keep clean sheets against Belgium and the Netherlands in quarters and semis.
Demichelis came oh-so-close to another clean sheet in the final against Germany, but there are question marks over his role in Gotze’s match-winning strike.
He left City for Espanyol in 2016 and retired a year later. He since served in assistant and youth coaching roles at former clubs Malaga and Bayern Munich and is now back where it all began, in charge of River Plate.
It’s a hell of a job to succeed Marcelo Gallardo.
CB: Ezequiel Garay
Garay suffered heartbreak on the national stage and endured his fair share of injury set-backs, but he enjoyed a more-than-respectable club career, lifting silverware with boyhood club Newell’s Old Boys and then Real Madrid, Benfica, Zenit Saint Petersburg and Valencia.
A cruciate ligament injury suffered in February 2020 proved one too many for the defender, who officially announced his retirement in the summer of 2021.
LB: Marcos Rojo
Now at Boca Juniors. Still mad as a box of frogs.
READ: Marcos Rojo’s Superclasico kung fu head kick summed up his career in a second
DM: Lucas Biglia
Part of Argentina’s Under-20 side that won the FIFA World Youth Cup in 2005, alongside Messi, Zabaleta, Garay, Fernando Gago and Sergio Aguero, Biglia went on to be a solid servant for the senior side, earning over 50 caps between 2011 and 2018, and representing the Albiceleste at two World Cups.
He’s represented Anderlecht, Lazio and Milan over the years and is still going at the age of 35. In the summer he joined Istanbul Basaksehir from their Turkish Super Lig rivals Fatih Karagumruk.
DM: Javier Mascherano
The wonderfully tenacious Mascherano retired from international football following the disappointing 2018 World Cup. He also left Barcelona that summer, having lifted five La Liga titles, five Copa del Rey and two Champions Leagues over the course of his eight wildly successful years at the Camp Nou.
Mascherano saw out his playing career back in Argentina with Estudiantes. He’s now in charge of Argentina’s Under-20s and is already being talked up as a potential successor to Lionel Scaloni.
Who could forget arguably his greatest moment of all at the 2014 World Cup?
READ: An ode to Mascherano – so devoted he tore his ars*hole for Argentina
RW: Ezequiel Lavezzi (Sergio Aguero, ’46)
Lavezzi was one of the first star signings of the QSI era at PSG. He signed in 2012 and helped deliver three league titles, before disappearing off the radar somewhat with a move to Chinese side Hebei China Fortune back in 2016. The winger retired in 2019 and has kept a low profile since.
Aguero remains Manchester City’s all-time top scorer, and is arguably their greatest-ever player, having fired them to five Premier League titles. He joined Barcelona in the same summer Lionel Messi left, but he only made five appearances for the club as the discovery of a heart condition forced him to retire early, at the age of 33.
The legendary goalscorer appears to be enjoying his post-playing career as Twitch star. He’s cheered his country on from the sidelines out in Qatar.
Messi’s reaction to seeing Aguero presenting him the MOTM award is priceless 🤣🤣 pic.twitter.com/RCYCdvctN7
— Ryan (@bernardooooV3) December 14, 2022
AMC: Lionel Messi
READ: Ranking every Argentina No.10 since Maradona: Messi, Riquelme, Aimar…
LW: Enzo Perez (Fernando Gago, ’86)
One of the less glamorous names from Argentina’s starting XI in the 2014 final, Perez was in fine form, having won four trophies that year with Benfica and named the Primeira Liga Player of the Year.
He’s still playing for River Plate, at the age of 36, having been there since 2017. In 2021, the midfielder made worldwide headlines for playing as a goalkeeper following a Covid-19 outbreak in the River Plate squad, helping them beat Independiente Santa Fe 2-1.
Gago retired in 2020 after an injury-laden career. He’s now in charge of Racing Club.
ST: Gonzalo Higuain (Rodrigo Palacio, ’78)
“After the most wonderful career I could have had, I feel that football has given me so much,” Higuain told reporters in October. “Many thanks to those who have always believed in me – the time has come to say goodbye.”
Higuain scored over 350 goals over the course of his career, including 31 in 75 appearances for Argentina. He won three La Liga titles and three Serie A titles, but never quite tasted victory with Argentina, finishing as a runner-up in three successive years in the World Cup and Copa America between 2014 and 2016.
Palacio hung up his boots in the summer after a stint in Serie B with Brescia, having spent his last 13 years in Italy. He’s since turned his attention to basketball. And yes, he still has the rattail.
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