Messi doubts whether he can still play in the 2026 World Cup: 'Normally not'

Lionel Messi is not yet considering retiring from the Argentine national team. The 36-year-old top player wants to continue as long as he feels good. However, he does acknowledge that the 2026 World Cup might be too late for him.

Messi doubts whether he can still play in the 2026 World Cup: 'Normally not' Embed from Getty Images

"As long as I feel good and can keep performing, I'll continue," Messi told. "It seemed like I would retire after winning the World Cup in Qatar (in 2022), but now I want nothing more than to be with the team. We are experiencing a special phase, and I want to fully enjoy it."

Therefore, Messi wants to focus mainly on the near future. For Argentina, this means the Copa América, the tournament scheduled for next summer. "That's all I'm thinking about right now," says the eight-time Ballon d'Or winner, who also discusses a possible participation in the 2026 World Cup in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

Argentina is in a good position in the qualifiers for the global tournament, but Messi is not sure if he will be there in 2026. "Time will tell. I will be at an age (39 years) that normally wouldn't allow me to play in the World Cup. We'll see. Winning the world title has given me peace because I know I've achieved everything."

So far, Messi has played 180 international matches for Argentina, scoring 106 goals. Last year's World Cup victory in Qatar was his greatest success with the 'Albicelestes'. The forward contributed significantly to Argentina's first world title since 1986 with seven goals, two of which were in the final against France (won on penalties).

In 2021, he also won the Copa América with his country, meaning the Argentinians will defend their title next summer. The tournament will be held in June and July in the USA, where Messi currently plays for Inter Miami. The American league ended in October and will not resume until March.

Updated: 12:43, 2 Dec 2023

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