Lionel Messi pessimistic about making 2026 World Cup

Lionel Messi (36) may have finally won his first World Cup in Qatar in December, however, it may be his last. The Inter Miami forward has told France Football that it will be “difficult” to make the 2026 edition, set to be hosted in Canada, Mexico and the United States. 

Messi was influential during the 2022 edition of the World Cup in Qatar as he won it for the first time. He netted a brace in the final as Argentina beat France on penalties. It was the final trophy to add to his cabinet, and Messi has admitted that winning the trophy at least in part contributed to his move to the United States this summer. Following the expiry of his contract with Paris Saint-Germain, the former Barcelona forward chose to join MLS side Inter Miami and he said that having achieved all he set out to achieve in his career, he could let himself be swayed by non-sporting factors.

Speaking to France Football, Messi has said that he wishes to play “until he feels that he no longer can,” but added that he is pessimistic of his chances of making the 2026 World Cup. “Obviously, you always want to play in these kinds of matches and even more so after becoming world champion. But there is a long time until then (2026). Even if it’ll come quickly, there are a few years before the World Cup and I don’t want to look so far ahead,” said the former PSG forward. 

He added, “It’s not about just being there just for the sake of it, but about feeling good and being able to bring something to the team. Knowing that I’ll be 39 years old, it may be difficult, but we’ll see how I feel physically.”

GFFN | Luke Entwistle

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