Highlights

  • Lionel Messi expressed his desire to play 2026 World Cup
  • Said he will continue playing for Argentina as long as he could maintain performance
  • Messi is prioritising Copa America

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Desire to play 2026 World Cup, but Copa America is priority: Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi is prioritising Copa America but expressed the desire to play 2026 World Cup to be hosted in US and Mexico. 

Desire to play 2026 World Cup, but Copa America is priority: Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi, Argentina's football icon, has expressed his desire to participate in the 2026 World Cup, set to take place in the United States and Mexico. However, he acknowledges that his priority lies with the Copa America. The 36-year-old previously indicated that the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, where he led Argentina to their third title, would likely mark his farewell. Yet, he's now considering the 2026 World Cup in the United States, Mexico, and Canada, relishing his time with Argentina.

In an interview with ESPN, Messi stated, "I'll continue playing with Argentina as long as I feel good and can maintain my performance. My focus now is on reaching the Copa America and playing in it."

He added, "After that, we'll see about the World Cup. By then, I'll be at an age (39) that typically doesn't align with World Cup participation. It seemed like I was retiring after the 2022 World Cup, but now I'm more determined than ever to be with the team. We're in a special moment, and I want to savour it without looking too far ahead."

The eight-time Ballon d'Or winner reminisced about the 2016 Copa America held in the United States, where Argentina reached the final but lost to Chile in a penalty shootout. After consecutive losses in the 2014 World Cup and the 2015 Copa America, Messi led the team to victory in 2021. Subsequently, Argentina secured the 2022 Finalissima against Italy and triumphed over France in the World Cup final last year.

Reflecting on his future, Messi admitted, "Maybe I'll continue if things go well in the Copa America, or maybe not. It's challenging. Becoming a world champion brought me a sense of tranquillity, knowing that in my profession, I've achieved everything."

The upcoming Copa America will include six guest teams from the CONCACAF region, featuring the United States and Mexico. Argentina awaits the draw on December 7 to discover their opponents.


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