Lionel Messi confirmed on Tuesday that he will play his last World Cup match when Argentina faces the winners of France and Morocco in the final next Sunday in Qatar.
Messi led Argentina to a 3-0 victory over Croatia in the semi-finals last night and he will play his 172nd international match in an attempt to win his country’s first world title since 1986.
The leader of the “tango dancers” told the Argentine newspaper “Diario Deportivo Ole”: “I am very happy that I was able to achieve this and complete my journey at the World Championships by playing my last match in the final.”
Leo Messi: “This is my last World Cup. It’s impressive that we end up playing in the final. The next one is still far away, there are many years ahead, and for sure, due to my age, I will not reach it. I’m going to play my second World Cup final. I hope it ends differently this time.” pic.twitter.com/pYInbc6Uj8
– All about Argentina ???????????? (@AlbicelesteTalk) December 13, 2022
Messi added: “Many years have passed and I don’t think I can do it. Ending my World Cup career this way is the best thing for me.”
He continued: “Everything is good and the records are good, but it is important to be able to reach the goal of the team, which is the most beautiful thing in the world. We are one step away from a tough fight and we will do our best to try and win the title this time.”
The 35-year-old is participating in the World Cup for the fifth time, four times ahead of Diego Maradona and Javier Mascherano.
With his fifth goal in Qatar, he also surpassed Gabriel Batistuta as Argentina’s top scorer in the World Cup final with 11 goals.
France will face Morocco in the second semi-final match today, Wednesday, at 10:00 Moscow time.