Argentina superstar Lionel Messi has confirmed that the 2022 FIFA World Cup next month will be his last. Messi, 35, will be playing in his fifth World Cup and in search of his first title. It’s the first time he’s publicly stated his future plans after the tournament, which is set to begin on Nov. 20. The team will open the tournament on Nov.22 against Saudi Arabia in Group C before facing Mexico and Poland.
Messi told Argentine journalist Sebastian Vignolo on Thursday: “This will be my last World Cup — for sure. The decision has been made.” He added: “I don’t know whether we are big favorites, but I believe Argentina is a candidate because of its history, which means even more now because of the way we got here. But in a World Cup anything can happen, all the matches are very difficult. It isn’t always the favorites who win it.”
Argentina has won the World Cup twice, in 1978 and ’86. Messi helped lead Argentina to the quarterfinals in 2006 and ’10, then to the final in ’14, when Argentina lost to Germany, 1–0, in extra time. Messi earned the Golden Ball as the best player in the tournament, scoring four goals in seven games.
Messi has scored six goals across four World Cups to date, and four of those goals came in 2014 when Argentina lost 1-0 to Germany in the final after extra time. Argentina was eliminated in the round of 16 in 2018, losing to eventual champion France, 4-3.
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