Messi has evoked comparisons with Maradona in the way he has pushed Argentina to the final, scoring five goals, setting up three more and thrilling his team's legion of fans, who have poured into Qatar throughout the World Cup in numbers only really matched by those from Morocco.
In that sense, it will seem like a home game for Argentina, with France's supporters sure to be heavily outnumbered amid a sea of blue-and-white jerseys - many of which will have "MESSI 10" written on them.
It is hard to pick a winner.
France is a hardened tournament team with plenty of experience and the quality to eke out wins when not playing at its best.
Deschamps has kept France's level high despite losing key players ahead of the tournament like Paul Pogba, N'Golo Kante, Presnel Kimpembe and Karim Benzema, the reigning world player of the year.
The French are the masters of being pragmatic, defending compactly and breaking at pace, typically through Mbappe down the left and through Antoine Griezmann, reinvented over the past month as a midfield playmaker.
Indeed, expect to see Mbappe and Messi walking around a lot during the game, not bothering to defend or press. That is in the script, rather than them being lazy. Part of the skill of Deschamps and Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni is their ability to forge a team that has learned to defend a man light.
As for Argentina, the team is largely set up simply to get the best out of Messi, with Scaloni likely to select a quartet of central midfielders like in the 3-0 win over Croatia in the semifinals. They will scrap and press, and then give the ball to Messi to weave his magic. Or to Julian Alvarez, the striker who started the tournament as a backup for that unthinkable 2-1 opening loss to Saudi Arabia and now is undroppable with four goals to his name.
Alvarez is pinching himself that, at 22 and pretty much at the start of his career, he is the attacking foil for Messi at the great man's last World Cup.
Similarly, the tens of thousands of spectators inside the stadiums in Qatar, and the millions watching on television around the world, have continued to be amazed at the magic Messi keeps on delivering.
Anyone who isn't French, or maybe a fervent fan of Ronaldo, is likely to be willing on Argentina's diminutive No. 10 in the biggest match of his career.
Eight years ago, Messi walked away from the 1-0 loss to Germany in the 2014 final with the Golden Ball award for the tournament's best player.
This time, he'll want instead to be lifting another trophy, made of 18-carat solid gold, to cap a career like no other.