Lionel Messi has confirmed that this year’s tournament in Qatar will be the final World Cup of his career.
The 35-year-old announced the news on his future with the Argentina national team on Thursday.
‘This will be my last World Cup — for sure. The decision has been made,’ he told Argentine journalist Sebastian Vignolo.
Messi is set to play in his fifth World Cup in Qatar – he has scored six goals in the previous four editions of the tournament.
Four of those came in 2014 when the PSG star led Argentina to the final where they were beaten 1-0 by Germany after extra-time.
He may have missed out on winning silverware with his country then, but he finally got his hands on an international trophy when he lifted the Copa America last year in Brazil.
Messi’s record for Argentina stands at 90 goals in 164 games, making him the third-highest goalscorer ever in men’s international football behind Cristiano Ronaldo (117) and Iran’s Ali Daei (109).
Messi announced his retirement from international football in 2016 after losing in the Copa America final against Chile, but he quickly reversed his decision and has remained the captain of the team ever since.
He has changed his mind on retirement in the past, but appears to be happy with his choice this time around.
Whether he stops playing for Argentina immediately after the World Cup remains to be seen, but he has made it clear that he will not be continuing on until 2026.
While he has clarified his stance on his international future, where Messi will be playing his club football next season is still unclear.
The playmaker is understood to be keen on a return to Barcelona once his PSG contract expires, and the Catalan giants can afford to bring him back to the Nou Camp.
However, there are a number of obstacles that need to be overcome in order for the move to go through, including repairing his relationship with Barcelona president Joan Laporta.
Messi is expected to make a final call on his club future after the World Cup.