With the 2022 FIFA World Cup just around the corner, Argentina international, and many football fans’ GOAT, Lionel Messi, made a shocking declaration on his future in the tournament. According to Sebastian Vignolo, Messi has revealed his intentions to retire from international football after the 2022 World Cup, indicating the trip to Qatar would be his last time representing Argentina at the world’s most renowned footballing competition.
Important to clarify again that Messi will not decide his future between PSG and Barça now or in the next weeks; it will be in 2023. pic.twitter.com/W54EDZIpfm
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) October 6, 2022
Messi made the announcement on Thursday, informing fans that this trip to Qatar with Argentina would be the final World Cup of his esteemed career.
Messi has been a part of four different Argentinian World Cup setups, and this will be his fifth. He made his World Cup debut in 2006 and has featured for the Argentine squad at the 2010, 2014, and 2018 editions of the tournament.
In total, he has six goals across 19 games in his World Cup career. Shockingly, Messi has never scored a World Cup goal beyond the group stages of the tournament. That type of production doesn’t match his usual level of excellence both at the club level for PSG and Barcelona as well as for Argentina in all international competitions.
Messi was just 18 years old when he made his first World Cup appearance, and his last one is set to come at the age of 35. With the 23rd World Cup slated for 2026, Messi is making the decision in advance that his 39-year-old self will not be up for the challenge.
Argentina fans will want to soak up as much of this World Cup as possible, as it’s among the last times they’ll see Messi donning the white and blue uniform. He hasn’t made a decision about the upcoming Copa America, but in terms of seeing Lionel Messi at the World Cup, this will be football fans’ last chance to do so.
Argentina’s World Cup run will mark the end of an era for the international team. While Messi never quite displayed his usual dominance at the World Cup in years past, he’ll be looking to make up for that with a sensational final go-around in Qatar.