Lionel Messi, the football maestro who recently clinched his eighth Ballon d’Or, is not ruling out the possibility of pursuing another shot at World Cup glory with Argentina in 2026.
Despite acknowledging the ticking clock of time, Messi, who lifted the coveted trophy almost a year ago, suggests that unforeseen circumstances could alter his plans.
In an interview with Argentina’s Star+, Messi stated, “I’m not thinking about the World Cup, and I’m not saying 100 percent that I won’t be there because anything can happen. Because of my age, the most normal thing is that I won’t be there. Then we’ll see.”
Messi, now 36, had initially hinted that the 2022 World Cup in Qatar would be his last, but with his move to Major League Soccer’s Inter Miami and continued active involvement with the national team in qualifiers for the 2026 tournament, he keeps the door ajar.
The football icon remains focused on the upcoming Copa America in June, set to take place in the United States.
Messi expressed optimism, stating, “Maybe we’ll do well at the Copa America, and everything will work out for us to continue. Maybe not. Realistically it’s difficult.”
While acknowledging the challenges, Messi emphasized that he would be the first to recognize when he can or cannot participate.
Reflecting on his recent move to a less competitive league, he said, “But it’s all about the personal side of things and the way you deal with it and how you compete. As long as I feel I’m well and can continue to contribute, I’m going to do it.”
Messi concluded by saying, “Today all I’m thinking about is getting to the Copa America. After that, time will tell if I’m there or not. I’m going to arrive at an age that, normally, doesn’t allow me to play in the World Cup. I said I don’t think I’m going to be there. It looked like after the World Cup I was retiring, and it was the opposite. Now I want to be there more than ever.”