Lionel Messi Not Retiring From Argentina: ‘I Want to Continue Playing as a Champion'


Lionel Messi isn’t leaving just yet.

The 35-year-old soccer icon said in October that he would be playing in his final FIFA World Cup this year in Qatar. He capped off the tournament with two goals in the final, leading Argentina to a dramatic, penalty-shootout victory over France for his first World Cup title.

Now that he has achieved the highest possible accolade in international soccer, he wants to continue enjoying the victory while wearing blue and white.

“I am not retiring from the national team,” Messi said in an interview with Gastón Edul following the World Cup triumph. “I want to continue playing as a champion.”

Messi first appeared for La Albiceleste in 2005 and got to step on the World Cup stage for the first time in 2006. He earned an Olympic gold medal in 2008 and led the team to the World Cup final in 2014, but he finally reached the pinnacle of international soccer in recent years.

Messi got his first major trophy with Argentina in 2021 when the country beat rival Brazil in the Copa América final. The only thing left off his career resume was a World Cup title.

The pressure was immediately on Argentina in Qatar after the team dropped its group play opener to Saudi Arabia. Messi and Co. bounced back in a big way, winning their six remaining games and fending off the defending World Cup champions to emerge victorious and lift the trophy.

Copa América returns in 2024, while the next men’s World Cup will get underway in the summer of 2026. It remains to be seen how long Messi will continue representing La Albiceleste, but he will be a World Cup champion forever.

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