Lionel Messi confirms he won't play in 2026 FIFA World Cup | Football News - Hindustan Times
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Lionel Messi confirms he won't play in 2026 FIFA World Cup

Jun 13, 2023 09:00 PM IST

On Tuesday, Messi revealed that he has no plans to don the Argentina jersey in the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

Just days after he sealed and confirmed his blockbuster deal and move to Inter Miami, Lionel Messi confirmed that he has already played his final FIFA World Cup game. On Tuesday, he revealed that he has no plans to don the Argentina jersey in the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

Lionel Messi with the World Cup Trophy, FIFA World Cup, Qatar, 2022
Lionel Messi with the World Cup Trophy, FIFA World Cup, Qatar, 2022

In December last year, Messi had led La Albiceleste to a World Cup glory in what was his fifth appearance in the tournament. It was Argentina's third World Cup title victory and first since 1986 when the legendary Diego Maradona had lifted the trophy. Their maiden win had come in 1978.

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Messi had in fact mentioned it earlier as well that the Qatar World Cup would be his final tournament, but fans, teammates and coach Lionel Scaloni remained hopeful for a change in mind which could see their most capped player and leading goal scorer make the 2026 edition to be played in the United States, Mexico and Canada.

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In a report by Efe News Agency, Messi confirmed his World Cup stance to Chinese sports outlet Titan Sports when asked about the 2026 edition: "I think not. [Qatar] was my last World Cup. I'll see how things go, but as it is right now, no, I won't go to the next World Cup."

The seven-time Ballon d'Or winner had played a pivotal role in Argentina's title run in 2022 where he scored seven goals and became the only ever player to score in every round of a World Cup edition since the introduction of Round of 16 in 1986. Of his seven goals, two came in the final against France, a match that had gone down to the wire with the results being decided in penalties. His efforts were rewarded with Golden Ball, making him the first player to win it twice in World Cup history having also being awarded the same in 2014 when Argentina had finished as runners-up.

The 35-year-old is presently in China for an international friendly with Argentina where they face Australia on Thursday and Indonesia on Monday.

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