Messi: Copa Focus, 2026 World Cup?
|Lionel Messi of Argentina celebrates after winning a FIFA World Cup 2026 Qualifier match between Brazil and Argentina at Maracana Stadium on November 21, 2023 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.(Image-Getty)
Argentina's captain, Lionel Messi, currently focused on leading his team in the upcoming Copa America, expressed uncertainty about his international future beyond the tournament. Despite previously hinting that the 2022 World Cup would be his last, Messi now considers the possibility of participating in the 2026 World Cup in the US, Mexico, and Canada. The 36-year-old emphasized that his decision hinges on his physical condition and performance, stating, "As long as I feel good and I can continue to deliver, I'm going to do it."
Reflecting on his evolving perspective, Messi admitted that post-2022 World Cup retirement plans have shifted, expressing a strong desire to be with the team. He emphasized living in the present moment, cherishing the special experiences without contemplating too far into the future. Despite the challenges of playing at the age of 39, Messi remains open to the idea of participating in the World Cup, acknowledging the unpredictable nature of football.
Recalling the bitter memories of the 2016 Copa America final loss to Chile, Messi highlighted the significance of the upcoming tournament on American soil. However, he remains optimistic about the team's performance, acknowledging the uncertainties in football's trajectory.
Messi, an eight-time Ballon d'Or winner, reflected on the transformative impact of becoming a world champion, providing him with a sense of accomplishment in his career. Looking ahead to the Copa America, where Argentina will face six guest teams from the CONCACAF region, Messi expressed anticipation for the draw on December 7, keen to embark on the journey to secure another continental title for his nation.