Lionel Messi was ‘owed’ an appearance at next summer’s World Cup finals by football, according to Argentina Coach Jorge Sampaoli.

A hat-trick from the Barcelona star propelled La Albiceleste to next summer’s tournament in Russia after a 3-1 victory in Ecuador, which Sampaoli’s side needed to win to guarantee qualification.

“Football owes him a World Cup,” Sampaoli told reporters after the match.

“Now we have the chance to help create a dream in Russia, as it would have been illogical for the most important tournament in the world not to have Messi.

“He is the greatest player of all time and this was a triumph for him and all of the players. In our group chat we said that we had to take Messi to the World Cup and this has happened.”

No Argentine national player apart from Messi has found the net for their country in over a year.