Lionel Messi burst onto the football scene in 2004, when he emerged as one of the best players in the world, and perhaps even the history of the sport after he graduated from the FC Barcelona academy, the highly-touted La Masia. Messi spent 17 years with Barca, breaking records along the way.

The 35-year old attacker is the all-time leading goal scorer in La Liga history, with 474, an absurd 163 more than second-place Cristiano Ronaldo, and Messi also holds the record for most goals scored in a single European league season, with 50, which he tallied during the 2011-12 season. Simply put, Messi has as good a case as anyone to be named the greatest footballer of all time. However, all good things must come to an end.

Lionel Messi, currently playing for Paris Saint-Germain of Ligue 1, recently acknowledged that he is in the twilight of his career, and that he might not be around to kick a ball professionally for long, per Bleacher Report.

“I don’t think I will play for much longer,” Messi said.

At the moment, Messi will be extremely focused on winning his first ever World Cup trophy after he saw his beloved Argentina fall short time and time again in excruciating fashion. In 2006, Messi’s debut on international football’s biggest stage, Argentina ended up bowing to Germany in the quarterfinals, but as an 18-year old, the then-wunderkind wasn’t able to provide his team much help. Four years later, Argentina yet again was outclassed by Germany, this time suffering a 4-nil drubbing.

However, it was in 2014 when Lionel Messi came oh-so-close to his coveted World Cup, but they ended up losing to Germany for the third time in a row, this time on a Mario Gotze goal in the 113th minute of extra time.

Nevertheless, it’s now or never for Messi, especially when he already mentioned that this will be the last time he suits up for his national team in the World Cup regardless of the outcome.

For all the accolades Lionel Messi has achieved, both on an individual and team level, a World Cup has remained elusive to him, so perhaps if Argentina could pull off the unthinkable in the coming weeks, the 35-year old could be nudged a step further into the direction of retirement, given how he’ll have nothing left to prove by then.

And when the day of his retirement comes, it’ll be one of the saddest yet most celebrated days in world football.