Lionel Messi has confirmed that the 2022 World Cup final between Argentina and France will be his last World Cup match.
Millions of fans across the globe will watch Lionel Messi in the blue and white stripes of Argentina in a World Cup tournament for the last time on 18 December 2022 at the Lusail Stadium in Qatar.
The PSG and former Barcelona playmaker is now ready to call it quits after the much-anticipated Argentina Vs France 2022 World Cup final.
Before the tournament, Lionel Messi addressed his international future, saying the 2022 World Cup would be his last World Cup.
However, in an interview with Direct TVSports weeks after, Messi reversed his statement. The record Ballon d’Or winner said he is undecided on his international future and decisions will depend on “his fitness and the logical issues of age.”
Despite his legendary football records, Lionel Messi is yet to land the World Cup trophy. He won his first major international trophy with the team in 2021 when they defeated Brazil 1-0 at the Maracana Stadium to clinch the Copa America.
Eight years ago in Brazil, Messi led Argentina to the World Cup final in Brazil, which they lost to Germany in a thrilling and spirited clash.
Now, Messi has a chance not just to cap his legendary and unrivaled football career with the world’s most coveted football trophy but avenge the 2018 knockout defeat to France, who went ahead to win the tournament.
Messi has been prolific and instrumental for Argentina throughout the ongoing 2022 World Cup in Qatar. He scored the team’s opening goal from the penalty spot in a shock 2-1 defeat to Saudi Arabia. He also opened the scoring in the team’s 2-0 win against Mexico in their second group game.
Messi led Argentina to the World Cup knockouts after winning the group with six points, setting up a round-of-16 clash with Australia.
The 35-year-old again opened the scoring for Argentina in the 34th minute as they cruised to a 2-1 win over the Australians.
Against the Netherlands in the quarterfinal, Lionel Messi was equally instrumental. He set up Molino’s goal and then doubled the lead by scoring from the penalty spot.
The match ended in a 2-2 draw, and Messi scored a decisive goal in the penalty shootouts to help Argentina reach the semifinals.
In the semifinals, Messi again opened the scoring for Argentina, scoring from the penalty spot and set up Julian Alvarez’s brace to condemn Croatia to a 3-0 defeat and reach the finals.
The PSG star is now joint highest goal-scorer with his PSG teammate Kylian Mbappe who is also in the final with France. They have five goals each. Messi is now in his second World Cup final and hopes to snatch the coveted trophy this time.
While football fans will want to see the Argentine playmaker in international football in the coming days, Messi is not willing to continue after the finals against France.
Speaking in a post-match press conference, he said, “to finish this way is brilliant, and there are a lot of years from this one to the next,” and he doesn’t think he can do that (continue playing till 2026 World Cup).
“I am very happy for finishing my journey in World Cups in a final, to play the last game in a final. That is really very gratifying,” Messi confirmed.
“Everything I lived in this World Cup has been emotional, seeing how much it has been enjoyed in Argentina.
“There are a lot of years from this year to the next one. I don’t think I will be able to do that. To finish this way is brilliant.”
Argentina face France in a crunch 2022 World Cup final tie on Sunday, 18 December, 2022.. While Messi will be expecting to retire with his first World Cup trophy, if the French team win the final, the team will become the first team to successfully defend the World Cup trophy in 60 years after Brazil did it in 1962.
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