Lionel Messi is considering extending his international career beyond the World Cup, despite conceding that there is nothing more he can achieve in an Argentina shirt.
Messi scored twice in a spectacular World Cup final against France. Finally at the age of 35 getting his hands on the only trophy that has evaded him in his illustrious career.
“What is there going to be after this?” Messi asked Argentine TV at the Lusail Iconic Stadium in Doha. “Obviously I wanted to close my career with this — I can’t ask for anything anymore.”
“But on the other hand, I love football, I love what I do, I enjoy it and I enjoy being in the national team, being with this group. And obviously I want to continue to live a few more games being a world champion,” he added.
Messi’s comments raise the possibility that he will continue until the Copa America in 2024. Argentina will defend their continental crown then having won the previous edition of the competition in Brazil last year.
Naturally, Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni, who helped convince Messi not to retire from international football in 2016 following a defeat by Chile in the final of the Copa America, would be more than happy for Messi to extend his career beyond their success in Qatar — and the coach even refused to rule out Messi playing until the next World Cup in 2026, when Messi would turn 39 during the tournament.
“Why not? If he wants to keep playing, he will be with us,” Scaloni told reporters at the post-final press conference.
“It is a pleasure for us to coach him. What he transmits to his teammates is unparalleled. I have never seen a person who is so influential with his teammates. He has earned the right to decide what to do with his soccer career and with the Argentine national team.”
In what was the most thrilling World Cup final of all time, Scaloni admitted that he never expected to become a World Cup-winning coach and that it is the “best feeling ever.”
“Now I feel calm, but the match was completely insane,” the 44-year-old said, taking a deep breath. “I know we played a good match and could have won it in 90 minutes. This is the best feeling ever. It wasn’t in my plans to be World Cup winners but now we are.”