The 2022 World Cup final took place nearly a year ago, but soccer fans can remember it like it was yesterday. Especially in Argentina. Enzo Fernandez, for instance, can remember every detail, including his argument with Kylian Mbappe.
“I remember what he told me, things about the game. There were plays that we were celebrating during the game and he made signs to us as if he were going to k*ll us. He told us that they were going to win the final,” Fernandez said about the PSG star, in an interview with ESPN.
Argentina and France delivered one of the most epic finals in World Cup history, putting on a show in a six-goal thriller that was decided on penalties. La Albiceleste started winning with goals from Angel Di Maria and Lionel Messi, but Mbappe forced the extra time with a late brace.
In extra time, both Leo and the Frenchman got on the scoresheet again to decide the world champion on penalty kicks. Argentina ultimately won in the shootout, securing their third World Cup. Fernandez admitted he thinks about this feat at least once a day, but he still doesn’t know why Mbappe got so angry with him.
“He got into it with me, I don’t know why. And well, I have a soldier who defends me. Cuti is crazy, haha. When we scored the goal I remember he started celebrating in his face.”
Fernandez’s breakout World Cup
While they’re the biggest stage for all players, World Cups may also serve as a platform for those who want to make a name for themselves. We’ve seen it in 2010 with Mesut Ozil or in 2014 with James Rodriguez or Keylor Navas.
In Qatar 2022, it was Enzo Fernandez who had a breakout tournament. The River Plate product started the competition on the bench, but it didn’t take him long to win a spot in the starting eleven. With Argentina at risk of being eliminated in the second group stage game against Mexico, Fernandez made an immediate impact coming off the bench in the second half. From then on, he remained on the lineup for the remainder of the World Cup.
From loanee to best young player of the World Cup
“I think about the World Cup at least once a day. Something always pops into my head. A memory, something, all the time. Being world champion changed my life completely. It’s priceless, it’s the eternal and ultimate glory,” said Fernandez.
His journey was quite interesting, having established himself at the Argentine national team in the last months before the World Cup. Besides, only a year before that Fernandez was celebrating a Copa Sudamericana title with Defensa y Justicia, where he was sent on loan by River Plate.
Back at the Millonario, the midfielder proved he had what it took to be part of the first team. Benfica signed Fernandez in July 2022, but the Portuguese giants couldn’t enjoy his talent for too long.
By the time the midfielder came back from Qatar (where he was named best Young Player of the World Cup) a number of European giants had already set their sights on him. In the end, Chelsea had to trigger Fernandez’s €120 million release clause to acquire his services in January 2023.