A final World Cup at the age of 39? At least that's the dream of eight-time Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi. While we thought we would last see him on the pitch of a World Cup last December, when he lifted the most prestigious of trophies after the final against Les Bleus, the Argentine could well be part of the game in 2026.
"Time will tell if I'll be there or not. I'm going to reach an age where I shouldn't normally be able to play in a World Cup," the former Barcelona and Parisian began in an interview for the Star + channel and ESPN, before admitting his desire to play one last World Cup. "I've already said I don't think I'll be there. It looked like I was going to retire after the last World Cup, but it's quite the opposite. Now I want to be there more than ever," he said.
🇦🇷🏆 ¡LA RESPUESTA QUE TODOS QUIEREN CONOCER! ¿Jugás el Mundial 2026, Leo? Messi, 100% sincero sobre lo que será su futuro en la Selección argentina.
¡Exclusivo de @StarPlusLA! ⭐️ | #CAMPEONESenStarPlus
-> https://t.co/mhCjRVjyyI pic.twitter.com/YRl56L60Zx
— SportsCenter (@SC_ESPN) December 1, 2023
"Realistically, it's going to be difficult"
If he plays in the 2026 World Cup, which will take place in the United States, Mexico and Canada, the Inter Miami player would then be 39 years old. "Given my age, the most normal thing would be for me not to be there. After that, maybe we'll do well at the Copa America, and everything will be in place for me to continue. Maybe not. Realistically, it's going to be difficult," said the Argentina international, who is not fixated. "I'm not thinking about the World Cup and I'm not saying 100 per cent that I won't be there. Anything can happen," he told Star +.
Before perhaps aiming for the Holy Grail for a second time in 2026, he will first try to win his second Copa America with the Albiceleste next year. A competition that will take place in the United States, and whose final will be played... in his new hometown of Miami.