Argentina superstar Lionel Messi has confirmed that the 2022 FIFA World Cup next month will be his last. The 35-year-old is preparing for his fifth World Cup with Argentina and Qatar will be the last destination for the man from Rosario on that stage.
Although the 2024 Copa America could yet be Messi's final bow with the Albiceleste, this year will be his final time on the world's biggest state with his national team viewed as one of the favorites.
"This will be my last World Cup -- for sure," Messi told Argentine journalist Sebastian Vignolo on Thursday. "The decision has been made."
Leo Messi announces: “This will be my last World Cup — for sure. The decision has been made”, tells @PolloVignolo. 🚨🇦🇷 #Argentina— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) October 6, 2022
Important to clarify again that Messi will not decide his future between PSG and Barça now or in the next weeks; it will be in 2023. pic.twitter.com/W54EDZIpfm
Messi has scored six goals across four World Cups to date, and four of those goals came in 2014 when Argentina lost 1-0 to Germany in the final after extra time. Copa America success in Brazil last year ended the former Barcelona star's wait for international success and he did also briefly retire back in 2016 before going back on that decision.
Messi has 90 goals from 164 appearances for his country which ranks behind only Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo with 117 and Iran's Ali Daei on 109 at the international level. The 2026 World Cup which is to be held in the U.S. as well as Canada and Mexico would have Messi turning 39 during the tournament if he went back on his intention to call it a day.
One more detail on Leo Messi's future. Messi and his camp have not received any official proposal yet, as talks won't take place now. ⚠️🇦🇷 #Messi— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) October 5, 2022
On Messi side, they know that PSG want to extend his contract and Barcelona want to bring him back - but nothing will be decided now. pic.twitter.com/g1SbCxLNTH
One of PSG's star performers this early season, he scored a superb goal against SL Benfica on Wednesday as his team drew 1-1 in Lisbon. Messi has tallied seven goals and eight assists from 12 outings across all competitions so far this campaign, but this term could be his last at Parc des Princes.
No decision has yet been taken on a potential return to Barca, but speculation has already linked him with a Camp Nou comeback next summer. Messi is expected to decide upon his future after this year's World Cup which sees the Argentines in Group C with Saudi Arabia, Mexico, and Poland.