In a recent interview with a Chinese media outlet ‘Titan Sports’, Lionel Messi, the renowned Argentine footballer, expressed his doubt regarding his participation in the 2026 World Cup. After leading his national team to victory in the 2022 World Cup tournament held in Qatar, the 35-year-old Messi hinted that the last World Cup marked the end of his illustrious career in international competitions.
Reflecting on his remarkable journey, Messi stated, “I have said several times before that I don’t think so, that (2022) was my last World Cup.” Speaking in Spanish during the video interview, which was published on the Kuaishou app, Messi added, “I will see how things go, but in theory, I don’t think I will be around for the next World Cup.” Subsequently, the soccer superstar emphasized that he would be present to witness the 2026 World Cup but would not actively participate. As news of his retirement from international tournaments looms, Messi expressed his desire to “like to be there to watch” the competition unfold.
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Meanwhile, Messi is currently in Beijing with the Argentine national team for a friendly match against Australia, scheduled to take place on Thursday. This encounter holds significance as it is a repeat of their last-16 clash at the World Cup in Doha, where Argentina emerged victorious. Anticipation for the match is fervent among Chinese fans, as tickets have been swiftly sold, despite prices reaching as high as 4,800 Yuan ($671). Messi’s presence on the field has drawn immense interest from supporters, who are eager to witness the former Barcelona star in action.
Furthermore, it was recently announced that Lionel Messi will join Major League Soccer (MLS) team Inter Miami after his two-year contract with Paris Saint-Germain concludes. According to reports from the Miami Herald, Messi is set to sign a two-and-a-half-year deal with Inter Miami, with an option to extend until 2026. This arrangement aligns well with Messi’s intentions to reside in Miami, which conveniently coincides with the hosting of the 2026 World Cup across the United States, Canada, and Mexico.
While the next World Cup may not feature Messi, there is still hope for Argentine fans as the soccer prodigy gears up to defend their Copa America title in the summer of 2024. The upcoming edition of the tournament will also be held on American soil, providing an opportunity for Messi to leave his mark in the region once again. Despite enduring previous disappointments in the Copa America, including three unsuccessful attempts, Messi achieved redemption in 2021 by securing victory against Brazil at the Maracana.
To wrap up, as Lionel Messi’s retirement from the Argentine national team draws near, he does so as the country’s all-time leading goal scorer and appearance holder. With his debut in 2005 as a young talent at FC Barcelona, Messi has mesmerized soccer enthusiasts worldwide with his exceptional skills and achievements throughout his career. While his decision not to participate in the 2026 World Cup may disappoint fans, the legacy he leaves behind will forever be etched in the annals of the sport.