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Messi confirms Qatar 2022 was his last World Cup as he rules out 2026

The Argentinian superstar will turn 39 by the next tournament.

Lionel Messi revealed Qatar 2022 was his last World Cup and the superstar has no plans to don the Argentina jersey in the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

“I have said several times before that I don’t think so, that that [2022] was my last World Cup,” he said when asked about his plans about the major tournament to be staged in the United States, Mexico, and Canada in 2026.

“After achieving the World Cup that was missing, I am satisfied and grateful for the career I’ve had. That is the most important thing for me,” he added, as quoted by reports.

“I will see how things go but in theory I don’t think I will be around for the next World Cup.”

The Argentinian superstar will turn 39 by the next tournament, due to be held in the US, Canada and Mexico.

Messi successfully lifted the World Cup trophy in Qatar last year, marking his first such achievement in a decades-long illustrated career.

The victory in Qatar cemented Argentina’s third title win in the World Cup, following on from their previous victories in 1978 and 1986, when the renowned Diego Maradona lifted the trophy.

The 35-year-old had previously said Qatar 2022 would be his final tournament.

However, fans, teammates, and coach Lionel Scaloni held onto hope for a change of heart that could potentially see their most experienced player and leading goal scorer participate in the 2026 edition.

The winner of the prestigious Ballon d’Or award on seven occasions played a crucial role in Argentina’s championship victory in the historic 2022 tournament.

During Qatar 2022, he scored a remarkable total of seven goals, becoming the first player ever to score in every round of a World Cup since the introduction of the Round of 16 stage in 1986, reports said.

Two of his goals were scored in the final against France, a thrilling match that ultimately went into a penalty shootout to determine the outcome.

As a result of his outstanding contributions, he was honoured with the Golden Ball award, making him the first player in World Cup history to win it twice. He had previously received the same recognition in 2014 when Argentina finished as the tournament runners-up.

He is now in China for an international friendly with the Argentine national team, scheduled to play against Australia on Thursday and Indonesia on Monday.

Just last week, Messi made public his decision to join Inter Miami, a Major League Soccer team, following the conclusion of his two-year contract with Paris Saint-Germain.