Messi confirms World Cup will 'surely' be his last and says he's 'counting down the days' to Qatar 2022
- Will turn 39 during 2026 tournament
- Qatar will be his fifth and final World Cup
- Messi aiming to lift the trophy
WHAT HAPPENED? The end of Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo's era of footballing dominance is well and truly coming to an end. In the latest example that the two superstars won't be around forever, the Argentine has admitted that he will play his very last World Cup in Qatar next month.
WHAT HE SAID: "Is it my last World Cup? Yes, surely yes, surely yes," Messi told Star+. "I am counting down the days to the World Cup. There is a bit of anxiety and nerves at the same time. Wanting it to be now and the nerves that were are already there, what is going to happen. It's the last one, how are we going to do. Yes, on the one hand, we can't wait for it to arrive and on the other hand, we're scared of wanting it to go well."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Given their Copa America success last year, Argentina will go into Qatar as one of the favourites to lift the World Cup. Messi claimed that such his team are used to such expectations going into major tournaments.
"I don't know if we are the great candidates, but Argentina itself is always a candidate because of history, because of what it means," he said. "More now at the moment we arrived. But we are not the top favorites it seems to me. There are other teams that are above us today, but we are very close."
AND WHAT'S MORE: Messi added: "We arrived in a very good moment because of the way things turned out, with a very strong group, but anything can happen in a World Cup. All the matches are very difficult, that's why a World Cup is so special because it's not always the favourites who end up winning or doing the way you expected."
STORY IN THREE PHOTOS:
WHAT NEXT FOR MESSI: While helping PSG in Ligue 1 and the Champions League will be important for the 35-year-old, the World Cup will be right at the forefront of his mind. That trophy is the only one that has truly eluded him throughout his career and winning it would only enhance his legacy as arguably the greatest player of all-time.