Speaking in an interview with Sebastian Vignolo, former Barcelona captain and Paris Saint-Germain superstar confirmed that the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar will be his last.
One of the greatest of all time, the 35-year-old made the revelation while also rating the chances of his Argentina side winning the tournament in Qatar. During the interview, the record Ballon d’Or winner also spoke of the Copa America triumph last year and his future after football.
“This will be my last World Cup, for sure. The decision has been made,” he confirmed.
Talking about everything he has achieved in the game, Messi humbly said: “I never set out to be the best player in history. I think I’m just another player. On the pitch, we are all the same and when the game starts I always try to improve myself.”
“I never think about what happened or what I achieved. I’m always looking forward, I think about what’s coming, what can we become in the opportunity we have and what it would be in the future.”
“My intention is that when I retire, I will be remembered for being a good person, not as a good player,” he added.
With the World Cup just a little over a month away, Messi insisted that he was excited as well as a bit anxious ahead of the tournament.
“I’m counting days for the World Cup, there is a little anxiety and nerves of wanting it to be already,” he said.
On the chances of La Albiceleste going all the way, the 35-year-old said: “I don’t think Argentina are top favourites, because there are some teams who are above us, but we will fight against anyone.”
2021 was a memorable one for Messi with regard to his international career as he won his first-ever major trophy with the Argentina national team, leading them to the Copa America triumph. Reminiscing the success, the superstar said:
“When we won Copa América I couldn’t believe it, I didn’t know how to explain it but it was like saying… ‘That’s it, what I needed was given’… it was one of the goals I needed to try to close everything.”
“If I weren’t, I would always have the thorn of the lost finals, of not having been able to consecrate myself with Argentina and at that moment, in that image in which you see me kneeling, I thought… ‘It is done‘,” he said, speaking of the iconic image of him kneeling on the ground after the Copa America triumph.
Messi also talked about his former Argentina teammate and close friend Sergio Aguero, saying that he missed playing with the former Manchester City and Barcelona striker.
“Obviously I miss Kun. We have a beautiful friendship… What he thinks he says and he was always a bit like that, a cute unconscious because he has no evil, he is a spectacular human being, sometimes even innocent. He feels it, he says it and he doesn’t measure it,” he said.
On the Argentina national team manager Lionel Scaloni, Messi said: “Scaloni is a very close person, who talks a lot with the players, who tries to always be there for whatever, a person who lives for football, who loves what he does, who suffers a lot in the games.
“He deserves everything he experienced because the process that he had to take on was not easy and he was the one who put all this together.”
When asked if he would like to enter into coaching once he hung up his boots, Messi replied: “I don’t really intend to be a coach, but Zidane said exactly that and after that, he became a coach and won the Champions League 3 times.”
However, the former Barcelona captain did insist that he could consider a sporting director role in the future, saying: “I would like to be the sporting director of a club, to build a team, to accompany the coaches, but I’m not sure about that.”