Messi says 2022 World Cup will ‘surely’ be his last
07 October, 2022
Argentina captain Lionel Messi on Thursday said that the 2022 World Cup in Qatar will “surely” be the last of his career.
“It’s my last World Cup, surely. I feel good physically, I was able to do a very good pre-season this year, which I couldn’t do last year. It was essential to get to where I am, with a good state of mind and a lot of hope,” the 35-year-old told ESPN Argentina.
Messi, who is due to appear in his fifth World Cup, made his international debut in 2005 and has since won 164 caps for Argentina and is the country’s all-time record scorer with 90 goals.
In the interview, which took place in Paris where Messi plays for Paris Saint-Germain, he admitted he was nervous about the impending tournament.
“There is anxiety, nerves about the World Cup,” he said. “We can’t wait for it to start.”
Messi’s international debut as a substitute against Hungary in 2005 lasted just two minutes before he was sent off but he quicky established himself in the national team set-up and travelled to Germany for his first World Cup in 2006.
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Messi has often struggled to emulate Argentine icon Diego Maradona on the biggest international stage, although was surprisingly named player of the tournament after his team lost the 2014 final to Germany.
He only scored once four years ago in Russia as Argentina bowed out with a 4-3 defeat by eventual champions France in the last 16, following a humiliating 3-0 thumping by Croatia in the group stage.
But hopes are high that the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner could bow out from World Cups with glory in the Middle East.
Messi won the best player award as he led Argentina to last year’s Copa America crown — beating arch rivals Brazil in the final — to win their first major tournament title in 28 years.
Qatar will likely provide the last chance for Messi and his long-time rival Cristiano Ronaldo, 37, to finally lift the World Cup.
“I am going to have to reassess a lot of things after the World Cup, whether it goes well for us or not,” Messi admitted in March.
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“I hope it goes well, but a lot of things are definitely going to change.”