Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni says fans should enjoy Lionel Messi while they still can because he will eventually retire.
The 34-year-old suggested following Friday's qualifying win over Venezuela that he could call time on his international career after the 2022 World Cup.
Messi said he has to "rethink a lot of things" after the tournament in Qatar and could opt to quit the national team.
- Afcon 2021: Senegal forward Mane was ready to sign ‘death contract’ to play with head injury
- Wafcon 2022: Faz questions Caf’s eligibility test after Banda exclusion
- Kelechi Nwakali’s brother rubbishes FC Zurich transfer rumours: 'Malicious and unfair!'
- All completed Premier League transfers in summer 2022 - listed
What has been said?
Asked at a press conference about the player's comments on Sunday, Scaloni admitted that the day will eventually come when Messi decides to retire.
“After playing in a World Cup, everyone makes assessments. I’m not in the heads of the players to know what they’re thinking," he said.
"In any case, you have to enjoy it. You don’t have to think about the future, enjoy their spectacular present.
"It’s the rule of life and at some point it will happen. It’s useless to think about what will happen after the World Cup."
What about Di Maria?
Fellow Argentina star Angel Di Maria made it clear that he does not expect his career with the national team to continue beyond the World Cup.
The Paris Saint-Germain player wrote in a post on Instagram that he has likely played his final home game for Argentina after they beat Venezuela in World Cup qualifying.
Di Maria played a crucial role in the 3-0 victory, scoring one goal and assisting another, and Scaloni says it was the perfect way to say goodbye to the home fans.
“I didn’t see the post but I understood it as being about this team, I would imagine," he said.
"I spoke with him some time ago. That it’s the decision of the coach [for him to stop playing] and not them that leave us. There is an age for everyone, many trips have passed and matches, which I would imagine is difficult.
"I hope he said that about this year. I don’t know what is going on in his head. If it was the last, it could not have been any better. It came out like he would have dreamed it.
"He put in the effort to be there and it’s very difficult that someone else would have played it or been available.
"He didn’t just play, he had a goal, an assist and he got the ovation from the entire stadium.”