Lionel Messi, 35, revealed 2 weeks ago that the Qatar World Cup will be his last. The star Argentinian has yet to win a World Cup Trophy for his country and will get one last opportunity. Messi made the announcement as the World Cup nears, possibly so soccer fans worldwide could further appreciate his greatness while he’s still out there for his national team. The tournament is set to kick off with Qatar taking on Ecuador on November 20th. Argentina won’t play its first game until November 22 against Saudi Arabia.
Messi’s World Cup History
Messi made his World Cup debut at the age of 18 at the 2006 World Cup in Germany. He scored his first goal in his second match against Serbia. Messi’s squad would later be bounced by the host nation in the quarterfinals in a penalty shootout. Messi did not have an attempt in this penalty shootout.
In 2010 the Argentinians once again made it to the quarterfinals and once again got bounced by Germany. This time it was in a convincing fashion. Messi failed to score in the tournament which was capped off by a 4-0 quarterfinal defeat. He was able to pick up an assist, but it was ultimately a disappointing effort from the star midfielder.
2014 was Messi’s team’s magical run. Argentina made it to the final, but an extra-time winner from Mario Goetze gave the Germans their fourth-ever World Cup Title. Messi netted 4 goals in the tournament, with two of them coming on brilliant set-piece strikes in a group-stage match against Nigeria. It wasn’t the kind of finish Messi would have wanted, but he was still able to put together a star performance.
In 2018, the Argentina national team dealt with plenty of drama through their World Cup run. A 3-0 defeat, at the hands of Croatia, was one of the worst losses for the country in its World Cup history. Argentina would need a late game-winner from Marcos Rojo in their final group-stage game in order to go through. Messi scored his only goal of the tournament earlier in this match. Argentina would eventually be ousted by the eventual champions, France, in a 4-3 Round of 16 thriller.
What 2022 Has in Store
Argentina is one of the favorites to win the 2022 World Cup. On FanDuel, they’re tied for the third-best odds to win the tournament, at +700. It would certainly be a magical ending for one of the most illustrious players in the sport’s history.
After their Saudi Arabia match, Argentina will take on Mexico from Lusail Stadium on the 26th, and will then Poland on November 30th for their final group stage match. Messi’s squad is in Group C and is a heavy favorite to win the group (-225 odds on Caesars). If they do, they will play the runner-up from Group D, which would in all likelihood be Denmark.
We have seen Lionel Messi retire and come back before. In 2016, Messi announced his retirement from international soccer after Argentina’s defeat in the Copa America Final. Less than 2 months later the Argentina captain announced his return.
This may be encouraging news for anyone hoping to see the sport’s greatest star appear in the 2026 World Cup when it comes to the states, However, Messi is now 35 and would be turning 39 during the 2026 tournament. The star Argentinian has mentioned that he plans to retire in the United States, after buying 35% of the Inter Miami MLS franchise beginning in 2023.
It’s nice to hear about Messi’s desire to live in the US, but most signs still point towards this being his last World Cup. It’s incredibly uncommon for someone in their late 30s to be playing in the World Cup anyways. Even though Messi would probably have the talent to do so, it seems like he plans on leaving it all on the field in 2022 for his home country.
The legendary Lionel Messi has a ton of experience under his belt and will be hoping to win his first World Cup Title for his home country this year. If he does go the distance, just think of this possibility…