Such was the momentous nature of watching Lionel Messi finally hoist the most prestigious prize in football that a rush began to pay homage to the Argentina captain, with fans from all four corners of the world offering tribute in any way they could.
One of the most extraordinary tributes appeared recently in the corn fields of Los Condores in central Cordoba, Argentina, where a farmer used his crops to create a gigantic portrait of his country’s World Cup-winning hero.
Farmer Maximiliano Spinazze used an algorithm to calculate where his seeds would need to be planted in order to produce an image of Messi’s face on his land using a clever geocoding tool that works out precisely how many seeds per square foot are required to do so.
The agricultural portrait (which is so large and detailed that it is even visible from space!) forms part of a wave of tributes to Messi in the wake of Argentina’s historic triumph, from light shows to tattoos.
Here is a selection of some of the other weird and wonderful ways in which the 35-year-old has been honored since winning the World Cup last month.
The Lujiazui Finance and Trade Zone in Shanghai was illuminated in Messi’s honor as the giant screen on the Citibank building became a 590-feet tall shrine to Argentina’s legendary No. 10.
There were similar scenes across town as Shanghai’s River Mall shopping complex staged a huge light display to mark Messi’s success.
Perhaps the most impressive video display came immediately after the final as the Dubai Frame — known as the “world’s largest picture frame” — was lit up with a stunning 3D tableau featuring five different iterations of Messi.
Adidas Dubai paid tribute to Lionel Messi’s World Cup win in some style 🥵🤯
— Eurosport India (@EurosportIN) December 21, 2022
Plenty of murals sprung up in the aftermath of the World Cup final as street corners and blank walls suddenly became hallowed ground for football fans.
One of the first to appear was this “GOAT” mural that went up among the Christmas lights in Mumbai, India.
It goes without saying that Argentina itself was also soon awash with stunning murals with artist Maximiliano Bagnasco depicting Messi lifting the World Cup trophy (dressed in his bisht) on a wall in the Palermo neighbourhood of Buenos Aires.
A gilded offering to “Saint Lionel” also appeared on the street furniture in Barcelona, Messi’s hometown for so many years.
Large murals of Messi, Lisandro Martinez, Lionel Scaloni and Walter Samuel were daubed on neighbouring buildings in Rosario by fans of Newell’s Old Boys — the club that all four members of Argentina’s World Cup-winning party represented during their careers.
Hermoso mural de reconocimiento a Lionel Messi, Lionel Scaloni, Walter Samuel y Licha Martínez tras ser campeones del mundo ⭐️⭐️⭐️🇦🇷. Obra de arte con sello Newell’s 🟥⬛️, firmada por @ArtistasLepros1.pic.twitter.com/oIoDK9z05a
— VarskySports (@VarskySports) January 12, 2023
A questionable likeness of Diego Maradona raised several quizzical eyebrows when this slightly overwrought tribute to Argentina’s two greatest No. 10s emerged in Cordoba in early January.
— FOX Sports Argentina (@FOXSportsArg) January 6, 2023
Eschewing the traditional route, one artist even saw fit to depict Messi as a Greek god in the Argentinian city of Tandil.
😱 ¡El Messi griego existe!
— El Gráfico (@elgraficoweb) January 5, 2023
This Indian street artist took the time to congratulate Messi on winning the World Cup with a sincere painted portrait of the Argentina star kissing the trophy.
Messi and his teammates also featured prominently in the array of “monigotes” (paper-mache puppets and figures) that are traditionally burnt in Ecuador to usher in the new year.
The street artists of Naples took inspiration from Argentina’s World Cup-winning captain as they sculpted their miniature Nativity figurines.
A group of fans even escorted a giant figure of Messi to the bottom of the Arabian Sea for reasons we’re struggling to fathom!
Beneath waters of Arabian Seas,stands tall statue of #Messi by Kerala’s Craziest Football fans.
What a pulsating soccer one saw last night,kept us on the edge right till the end.
What an amazing performance #Mbappe𓃵 pic.twitter.com/CnEDE88dNi
— Harinder S Sikka (@sikka_harinder) December 19, 2022
As you might imagine, there was a significant rush of fans seeking to get permanent tributes to Messi inked about their person after the final, with the tattoo parlors of Buenos Aires especially busy in the aftershock.
Among the various new tattoos commissioned was this image of Messi (or possibly James Milner) kissing the World Cup trophy.
There was also this piece which sees what is undeniably Messi and the trophy as part of a playing card design — the “5” being a reference to how many finals the forward took part in before finally getting his hands (and lips) on the prize.
And the rest…
One fast food restaurant in Buenos Aires decided to celebrate in the only way they knew how — by creating a new custom-made Milanesa (a breaded steak schnitzel) in the shape of Messi’s face. Delicious.
Não trabalhamos com limites 🤣🤣🤣
— ge (@geglobo) December 16, 2022
Messi was also the star of the show at a hot air balloon festival in Colombia where an enormous effigy of his blue and white striped No. 10 jersey was sent up into the night skies above the town of Envigado.
An elaborate follicular recreation of Messi’s bearded face was rather skillfully shaved into the back of a fan’s head by a barber in the Dominican Republic in a display of unity and respect between Latin American nations.