Argentina captain Lionel Messi said Thursday that the 2022 World Cup in Qatar will “surely” be the last of his career, reported AFP.
“It’s my last World Cup, surely. I feel good physically, I was able to do a very good pre-season this year, which I couldn’t do last year. It was essential to get to where I am, with a good state of mind and a lot of hope,” the 35-year-old told ESPN-Argentina.
In the ESPN interview, which took place in Paris where Messi plays for Paris Saint-Germain, he admitted he was nervous about the impending tournament.
“There is anxiety, nerves about the World Cup,” he said. “We can’t wait for it to start.”
Messi’s international debut as a substitute against Hungary in 2005 lasted just two minutes before he was sent off but he quickly established himself in the national team set-up and travelled to Germany for his first World Cup in 2006.
Last chance for glory
Argentina get their bid for a third World Cup title, and first since 1986, underway on November 22 against Saudi Arabia in Lusail, before further Group C matches against Mexico and Poland.
Messi only scored once four years ago in Russia as Argentina bowed out with a 4-3 defeat by eventual champions France in the last 16, following a humiliating 3-0 thumping by Croatia in the group stage.
But hopes are high that the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner could bow out from World Cups with glory in the Middle East.
Messi won the best player award as he led Argentina to last year’s Copa America crown – beating arch-rivals Brazil in the final – to win their first major tournament title in 28 years. He was involved in most of Argentina’s goalscoring exploits and was player of the tournament.
Qatar will now be the last chance for Messi to finally lift the World Cup.