Lionel Messi World Cup trophy Argentina 2022Getty

Will Messi play at the 2026 World Cup? Argentina star ruling nothing out as he discusses international future

  • Claimed global crown at Qatar 2022
  • Tournament was expected to be his last
  • Now looking to play on with Albiceleste

WHAT HAPPENED? The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner helped his country to glory at Qatar 2022, with the all-time great completing his medal collection while emulating the achievements of Pele and Diego Maradona. The historic event in the Middle East was expected to be Messi’s last outing at a major tournament with his country, with the 35-year-old admitting as much, but he may now be involved in the defence of that title when FIFA’s flagship event heads to the United States, Canada and Mexico.

WHAT THEY SAID: Messi has told Diario Ole when asked if he has another World Cup left in him: “Because of age it'll be difficult to make 2026. I love playing football and while I feel like I'm in good shape and enjoying this, I'm going to keep at it. It seems like a long time until the next World Cup, but it depends on how my career is going.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Argentina boss Lionel Scaloni has backed Messi to remain part of the Albiceleste set-up through to 2026, while the man himself has been reflecting on what it was like to finally get his hands on the most sought-after of trophies. Messi added on hoisting the World Cup aloft: “I saw the cup there, so close, that I was drawn to be near it, touch it, kiss it. It was such an exciting feeling to say ‘it's done’. To this day it remains such an exciting moment. Even when I see it now, I enjoy it more than I did at that moment. Things have calmed down since, so it's more exciting for me. I see a lot of videos on social media now.”

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WHAT NEXT? Messi has earned 172 caps for Argentina, while scoring 98 goals, and is currently facing as many questions of his club future as he is his international one as no extension to a contract that is due to expire in the summer has been signed with PSG as yet.