Lionel Messi mulling taking part in on till 2026 World Cup
Lionel  Messi mulling taking part in on till 2026 World Cup

BUENOS AIRES:  Argentina captain Lionel Messi has left open the probability of playing at the 2026 FIFA World Cup, but he says his participation will depend on several factors.

The Paris Saint-Germain forward earlier declared the 2022 World Cup in Qatar would mark his last appearance in football's showpiece event.

But Argentina's successful campaign, in which Messi scored seven goals and was named the tournament's best player, has made him rethink the idea of competing in a sixth World Cup.

During the competition in the United States, Canada, and Mexico, Messi will turn 39.

The 35-year-old told Argentine sports newspaper Ole, "I don't know, I always mentioned that owing to age it seems to me that it will be very difficult to make it to 2026."

"I appreciate what I do and enjoy playing football, so as long as I'm healthy and fit, I'll keep doing it. However, the time until the next World Cup seems to be quite long. It relies on a lot of factors where my career is heading and what I'm going to do." In December of last year, Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni assured reporters that he would preserve Messi's No. 10 jersey for as long as he wanted to continue playing.

After Argentina defeated France in the World Cup final on December 18, 2022, in a penalty shootout, Messi claimed he was still experiencing a high.

It happened less than a year after the Albiceleste defeated Brazil in the Copa America final, giving them their first significant victory since the Copa America of 1993.

Achieving it at the conclusion of his career was incredible,  Messi said. "Naturally, it would have been amazing if it had occurred sooner. However, the rest of your career is still in front of you. There isn't a finer way to end my career, which is about to come to an end."

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