FAMILY FORTUNES LIONEL MESSI revealed his children are inspiring him to World Cup glory.
The Argentinian icon said he was thinking about his three sons throughout last night’s rollercoaster 2-1 win over Australia.
Lionel Messi scored on his 1,000th career appearance to help beat Australia
His wife and kids watched the game in the stadium to cheer on their hero
And Messi, 35, is buzzing that his eldest, ten-year-old Thiago, is now old enough to appreciate his dad’s magic.
After his stunning opener set the South Americans on their way in front of wife Antonela and their sons, he said: “From the beginning to the final whistle I was thinking about my family.
“My children especially, as they are growing older and understand more.
“We have had families before at World Cups – Thiago has been there but wasn’t aware what it meant.
“I now see how they suffer and enjoy it. It’s something spectacular.
“They are excited as all Argentinians – it’s amazing to share this with them.”
Messi put La Albiceleste ahead 35 minutes in with a beautiful low shot before Julian Alvarez doubled their lead following Australia keeper Mat Ryan’s clanger.
Enzo Fernandez’s own goal gave the Aussies a chance but Argentina are now three wins away from their first World Cup title since 1986.
They face the Netherlands in the quarters on Friday, where they will once again be backed by their incredible support.
The fanatical fans serenaded their heroes for ten minutes after the final whistle – and Messi believes they can make the difference.
He said: “It’s unbelievable what they transmit – the passion, energy and joy.
“It’s unbelievable. There is a bond we have, a union – it’s beautiful. That’s what the national team should be. These are amazing feelings.”
The Aussies leave with head held high after pushing Argentina all the way in their first last-16 game since 2006.
Coach Graham Arnold said: “I said to the boys that I could not be more proud.
“Everyone said we were the worst Socceroo team to qualify for the World Cup. That’s gone now. We are the only Australian side to win two World Cup games in a row.
“It’s all been about making the nation proud, and I’m pretty sure we did that.”
On Messi, he added: “We worked really hard not to be in awe of him but he’s incredible.
“I had the privilege of playing against Diego Maradona – they are both wonderful and Argentina should be very proud.”
The Messis have three boys – Mateo, Ciro and Thiago
Messi dreams of World Cup glory with Argentina