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#pounditSaturday, June 3, 2023

Lionel Messi makes strong statement about his future at World Cup

Sep 27, 2022; Harrison, New Jersey, USA; Argentina forward Lionel Messi (10) during the second half against Jamaica at Red Bull Arena. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Lionel Messi is confirming the news that many had suspected all along.

The Argentinian soccer legend spoke with reporters at the World Cup in Qatar on Monday and said that this will be the final World Cup of his illustrious career.

“Surely this is my last World Cup,” said Messi, per Spanish journalist Alfredo Martinez. “My last opportunity to win it.

“I don’t know if it’s the happiest moment of my career but I feel very good,” Messi added. “I try to enjoy every moment that I have to live to the fullest. Before, I didn’t have time to enjoy it.”

This was indeed widely anticipated to be Messi’s last dance at the World Cup with Messi now 35 years old and Qatar marking his fifth career World Cup appearance. While Messi probably has at least a few more solid years left in him at the club level (where he currently stars for French powerhouse Paris Saint-Germain), he will be 39 by the time of the next World Cup, which will be held in North America in 2026.

Despite having already won just about every other trophy that there is to win over the course of his storied career on the pitch, Messi still has one major void to fill — he has yet to triumph with Argentina at the World Cup.

Messi and Argentina came the closest in 2014 when they were runners-up in the World Cup to Germany, losing 1-0 in the final match. But they have also had some heartbreaking whiffs over the years, and now the pressure on Argentina to win it all in Qatar during Messi’s final run will be massive.

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