Lionel Messi says he will not be hanging up his international boots after captaining Argentina to victory at the World Cup in Qatar.
35-year-old Lionel Messi has vowed to keep leading his Argentina squad after captaining his team to victory at the World Cup in Qatar on Sunday evening.
“No, I’m not going to retire from the Argentina national team,” he told TyC Sports after an epic penalty shoot-out victory over France, in what many have dubbed one of the greatest World Cup finals in history.
“I want to keep playing as World Cup champions with Argentina shirt,” the Golden Ball winner added.
The football superstar opened the scoring for Argentina with a 23rd-minute penalty and again found the net in extra-time for the 3-2 in the 108th of the match.
Magic in his feet, Messi recreated a performance that has undoubtedly allowed him to be seen as one of the greatest players the game has ever seen.
The Argentina captain has broken several historical feats, including becoming the first player to score in the group stage, the round of 16, quarter-final, semi-final, and final in a single edition of the World Cup.
“It’s crazy that it happened this way. I wanted it very much,” he told reporters after the game.
“I knew that God was going to give it to me; I had a feeling that it was going to be this way. Now to enjoy. Look at this cup; it’s beautiful. We suffered a lot, but we made it. We can’t wait to be in Argentina and to see how crazy it’s going to be. This was the trophy I have wanted all of my life. This was my dream since childhood.”
The Qatar World Cup was the third title in all of the South American country’s history. Argentina won two in 1978 and 1986 under the late legend Diego Maradona.
Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni said the door will be open for Messi to return at the 2026 World Cup if the footballer chooses to do so.
“First of all, we need to save him a spot for the next World Cup in 2026,” Scaloni said. “If he wants to keep playing, he’ll be with us. He’s more than entitled to decide if he wants to keep playing for Argentina or not, or what he wants to do with his career.”
“It’s such a huge pleasure for us to coach him and his teammates. Everything that he transmits to his teammates is unparalleled, something I’ve never seen before. A player and person who gives so much to his teammates.”
After celebrating in his home country, the now World Cup winner will return to club side Paris Saint-Germain as the Ligue 1 champions are set to resume their campaign against Strasbourg on the December 28.