On a night of great news for Argentina, Lionel Messi made one more announcement that lifted spirits even further.
"I would like to experience a few more games as a world champion," he said on TyC Sports on Sunday evening.
“I love football, what I do.
I enjoy being in the national team.” In 2026, at the upcoming World Cup in the USA, Canada and Mexico, the 35-year-old will no longer be there, as he had already announced.
After the World Cup victory in the final against France, however, he did not want to step down from the big football stage.
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It's been 36 years since Diego Maradona's "hand of God" showed Argentina the way to the world title.
So much heavenly and fraudulent help was not necessary at all.
Foot enough for Lionel Messi in a final of the century that took incredible twists and turns.
He was always in play when there was something to celebrate for Argentina.
First the penalty to make it 1-0 (23rd minute), then 3-2 (108th), as well as Ángel Di María's 2-0 when Messi initiated the attack.
In the penalty shoot-out, he was the first to score safely.
After that, all he could do was celebrate when Gonzalo Montiels scored and made everything clear.
It was probably the best final in the history of the World Cup so far, as outstanding, curious, astonishing and breathtaking scenes were mixed in a density that is extremely rare in football.
Argentina looked like the sure winner after 70 minutes of dominance.
Then France came up and equalized through Kylian Mbappé (80th and 81st).
After Messi's second goal in extra time, it was again Mbappé who sent France to penalties.
There, goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez became an outstanding player.
He parried Kingsley Coman's attempt and Aurelien Tchouameni missed.
"Diego is certainly smiling now"
The Argentine party afterwards knew no bounds.
Some players used their cell phone cameras for live videos on Instagram.
You could see beer buckets on the cabin table, the doll "Chucky" known from the horror film of the same name with a champagne bottle between his legs - and trainer Lionel Scaloni, who was doused with champagne.
Singing, the players passed the journalists in the interview zone.
Messi led the parade with the World Cup trophy in hand.
He did not appear again for the interview.
The press conference with him was canceled.
Who could blame him.
After four unsuccessful attempts since 2006, when he first appeared on the World Cup stage in Germany, he followed Maradona.
The Argentinian idol had won the title in 1986.
He had died two years ago.
Diego is certainly smiling now," Brazil soccer legend Pele wrote on Instagram.
"He is among us.
Luckily we managed to lift this trophy.
We've dreamed of this for a long time," said coach Lionel Scaloni.
"He would have liked it, he would have come onto the pitch first to celebrate."
Before Messi was allowed to lift the World Cup trophy at 21.43 local time at the stadium in Lusail, he had already been named player of the tournament.
Messi is the only player to have won the Golden Ball twice since it was introduced in 1982.
After the 2014 final defeat in Brazil against Germany, Messi was voted the best player of the tournament.
According to the Technical Study Group of the world association FIFA, the Frenchman Mbappé and the Croatian Luka Modric followed in second and third place.
Emiliano Martinez was named the tournament's best goalkeeper.
The 30-year-old used the trophy after the handover for an obscene cheer when he provocatively held the Golden Glove in front of his abdomen.
The reason for this disturbing gesture initially remained unclear.
The best young player also comes from the world champion team: 21-year-old Enzo Fernandez secured this rating.
France's attacking star Mbappé received the award for top scorer with eight goals and looked disappointed next to all the Argentines in the photo.
However, the Argentines were happy, even without concrete party plans.
It was not clear on Sunday evening when the new world champion would leave Qatar for home and how he would celebrate there with his fans.
"I have no idea to be honest.
But we want to celebrate, our compatriots deserve it,” said coach Scaloni after the 4-2 penalty shoot-out win over France.
"Before the game I didn't want to know anything about it because I just focused on the game.
Now that we're world champions, I'm open to what the players will say."