2022 World Cup final: Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and 33 extras - Stuart Rayner comment
And no one demoted to the role of supporting actor will complain. Just as well, because no one will listen.
With his crucial extra-time save from Randal Kolo Muani, his shoot-out save from Kingsley Coman and his successful mind-games to put off Aurelian Tchouameni from France's next kick, Emiliano Martinez had a strong claim to be the man who "won" Argentina's first World Cup since the days of Diego.
Not many Rotherham United or Sheffield Wednesday fans would have seen that coming in his South Yorkshire loan spells.
It was actually Gonzalo Montiel who sealed the deal with his kick from 12 yards, yet a couple of years from now – maybe even a couple of days – he will be the pub quiz question that lets most teams down.
Lionel Scaloni's call to play Angel Di Maria – who has made a living out of doing the running the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi could not be bothered with – on the left wing was inspired for the 64 minutes he had in his fragile hamstrings.
For the rest of the game Di Maria’s shifting facial expressions provided a running commentary of events.
Argentina's midfield three of Enzo Fernandez, Alexis Mac Allister and Rodrigo de Paul – who Marcelo Bielsa once tried to sign for Leeds United – made France really miss Ngolo Kante's energy for the first time in the tournament.
Didier Deschamps' brave first-half substitutions, introducing Kolo Muaniat and Marcus Thuram, eventually turned the tide back France's way. Some of Dayot Upamecano's defending to take the game to a penalty shoot-out was exceptional.
Obviously the GOAT of attention-seeking, Piers Morgan, tried to muscle in, tweeting a Trumpian conspiracy theory about the French team being poisoned.
They were just hugely talented extras in the script of somebody else's biopic. And Piers Morgan.
The 2022 World Cup final boiled down to arguably the finest player ever going head to head with the greatest of this time, French-based Messi versus his club-mate Mbappe for the title of king of the footballing world.
Thirty-three others were allowed to come along for the ride but none was going to steal their thunder.
Sometimes big games let you down, incapable of living up to the hype. For 80 minutes this one was rendered a non-event by the lethargy of a horribly off-colour Les Bleus apparently feeling the full effects of a sickness bug which swept the camp.
Little did we know the scriptwriter in the sky was just lulling us into a false sense of security, ready to hit us smack in the face with the most dramatic World Cup final ever.
Mbappe scored only the second World Cup hat-trick of all time as the man who did it first, Sir Geoff Hurst, tweeted his congratulations. How very 21st Century.
In doing so, Mbappe also won the golden boot. He scored in the penalty shoot-out too.
And still he could not beat Messi.
As the contenders dropped out one by one, it began to feel as if destiny really was calling the little genius playing for the last time in a tournament he had never won.
It had been Messi who set the ball rolling on Sunday with an almost obliviously cool penalty. When Di Maria doubled the lead, there could only be one winner.
But a Messi-like burst of 97 seconds of magic from a player who until then had been doing a good impression of the invisible man threw it all up in the air. Maybe it would be the Mbappe show after all, maybe his brilliant equaliser would be the defining moment?
Messi was not having that.
Eighteen minutes into extra-time he tapped in to secure his destiny and a 3-2 win. Not so fast, said Mbappe, converting his second penalty, the only one of his four shots past him Martinez did not get a glove on.
A 3-3 draw took us to penalties.
At the time Mbappe slotted home the opening kick anything seemed possible. Messi strode up for the next kick, and put that away too.
Ultimately others had to finish the job as Argentina won 4-2, but they were never going to take the glory.
Now you think about it in the cold light of day, no one was going to steal Messi's destiny. If Mbappe could not, what chance a mere mortal?
So instead of Bobby Moore wiping his hands on his shorts we had a beaming Messi rubbing his hands together as his bulging eyes looked at the gold trophy. He picked it up and hugged it tight like a first-born child before running over to his team-mates and lifting it to the sky.
He did it all draped in a traditional Qatari gown – one last shameless advert for this sell-out of a sportswashing extravaganza – but nothing could spoil the moment.
Even ITV's professional grinch Roy Keane – gushing in his praise even for the losers and so caught up in the excitement he gave his enthusiastic stamp of approval to the winners’ post-match celebratory dancing – was delighted with the happy ending.
Lionel Messi had won the Messi versus Mbappe World Cup final. It is a pity, but all the rest of the drama that day will be forgotten.