'All-time classic': Former players blown away by thrilling World Cup final
Dec 19 (Reuters) - Former players came together in acclaiming the World Cup final in Qatar as one of the best ever after Argentina beat France on penalties following a pulsating 3-3 draw.
Lionel Messi scored twice and Kylian Mbappe grabbed a hat-trick in 120 minutes of breathtaking action, before Gonzalo Montiel sent Hugo Lloris the wrong way to seal a shootout win and a third World Cup title for Argentina.
Former England and Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher said it was one of the "best games of all time".
"This game showed why football is the greatest game of all. This one is an all-time classic," he tweeted.
Alan Shearer told the BBC "it was just an unbelievable final".
"I've never seen anything like it and I don't think I'll ever see anything like it again. It was staggering," the former England striker said.
Messi, in his 26th World Cup match at his fifth tournament, was finally able to get his hands on the elusive trophy and match his predecessor Diego Maradona.
"For our country, we will see a picture of Maradona and Messi, two of the greatest players of all time with the World Cup trophy," former Argentina defender Pablo Zabaleta told the BBC. "That is something so incredible. We are so lucky."
Gary Neville said Messi deserved to be the centre of attention.
"During his whole career, he's lit up every game he's played in. If you've watched Lionel Messi play live you are truly blessed," the ex-England international Neville told ITV.
Neville added that Argentina's win would inspire a new generation of players, pointing to his own experience of watching Maradona play at the 1986 World Cup.
"We were watching the clips of Maradona back in '86 before the game and I was young watching it in my childhood," Neville added.
"The kids who were my age back then will be watching this tonight thinking they want to become a footballer and become engrossed and embedded in the culture of football."
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.