The 2022 World Cup in Qatar next month will be the last of Lionel Messi’s career.
The 35-year-old Argentina star, who will be playing in his fifth World Cup, is still chasing his first title at the showpiece tournament (which begins on November 20 this year) and admitted he was feeling nervous ahead of his latest appearance international. football’s biggest stage.
“It’s my last World Cup. Yes, definitely. I feel good, physically, I was able to do a very good pre-season preparation, which I couldn’t do the previous year” for his arrival at Paris Saint-Germain, said the 35-year-old Albiceleste captain.
This preparation “was fundamental to start better and arrive as I arrived, with a lot of motivation and enthusiasm”, he continued.
A historic national scorer with 90 goals, Messi will play his fifth World Cup in Qatar after Germany in 2006, South Africa in 2010, Brazil in 2014 and Russia in 2018.
It’s the first time the Paris Saint-Germain striker has spoken openly about his future after the tournament, with Messi not definitively saying whether he would retire from the national team after Qatar.
Argentina won the World Cup in 1978 and 1986. The team will open the tournament on November 22 against Saudi Arabia in Group C before facing Mexico and Poland.
Messi’s record with Argentina stands in stark contrast to his success at club level. Argentina came close to ending their long trophy drought on three occasions but were beaten by Germany in the 2014 World Cup final and by Chile in the 2015 and 2016 Copa America finals.
“I’ve been playing with the national team for a long time now,” Messi said. “There were spectacular moments, like in 2014, 2015 and 2016, but we didn’t win and we were criticized for not being champions.
Messi said he went to Qatar with a positive outlook as the oldest player in a squad full of young talent, while relishing Argentina’s massive Copa America win last year.
Argentina will face the United Arab Emirates in their final warm-up in November before starting group matches in Qatar.