World Cup hero Lionel Messi not to retire from international football

FIFA World Cup 2022: Speaking after lifting the World Cup with Argentina in Doha on Sunday, Lionel Messi said he would want to continue playing for the national team and enjoy the feeliing of being a world champion in Argentina colours.

New Delhi,UPDATED: Dec 19, 2022 03:04 IST

Lionel Messi kisses the World Cup trophy at the Lusail Stadium (AP Photo)

By India Today Web Desk: At 35, Lionel Messi seems to be keen on enjoying the feeling of playing as the world champion for Argentina, something that he has never done before in his long and decorated career. After winning the World Cup in Qatar on Sunday, December 18, Messi confirmed he would carry on to play for Argentina, at least a “few more” times as he dismissed rumors about his retirement.

Messi scored twice and converted Argentina’s first shot in penalties in one of the most fascinating World Cup finals as the Albiceleste defeated France 4-2 on penalties in the World Cup final. In his fifth attempt, Messi won the FIFA World Cup, the only missing piece in his envious trophy cabinet.

“I wanted to close my career with this, it was the one that was missing so I can no longer ask for anything else,” said Messi, as quoted by news agency Reuters.

“I was able to get the Copa America and now the World Cup that I had fought so hard for. I’ve got it at the end of my career. But I love football and I want to continue living a few more games being world champion.”

Messi won the Golden Ball for the best player at the World Cup for the second time, becoming the only man to do so. He had won the honor in 2014 after finishing runners-up with Argentina in the final against Germany. 7

In Qatar, Messi scored 7 goals and provided 4 assists as he ran the show for Argentina in only their 3rd victorious World Cup campaign and the first since 1986.

Messi had retired from international football in 2016 after Argentina’s Copa America final defeat to Chile. However, he found the courage to return to Argentina national team once again.

Messi’s 2018 World Cup campaign ended in Round of 16 but his persistence paid off when he led Argentina to the Copa America crown in 2021.

‘KNEW GOD WOULD BRING THIS GIFT’

Messi’s World Cup dreams in Qatar suffered an early blow when Argentina were shocked by Saudi Arabia in their opening match. However, Messi and Argentina bounced back strong and kept improving through the tournament.

Reflecting on the stunning final and the victory, Messi said he believed the triumph was meant to happen.

“It’s just crazy that it became a reality this way,” Messi said.

“I craved for this so much. I knew God would bring this gift to me. I had the feeling that this (World Cup) was the one.”

Messi said he was itching to return to Argentina and be part of the celebrations. Messi was soaking in the stunning atmosphere created by at least 40,000 traveling Albiceleste fans at the Lusail Stadium after the World Cup final win.

Messi kissed the World Cup trophy when he went on to collect the Golden Ball. He got his hands on the trophy 10 minutes later as he lifted it and celebrated the triumph with teammates and family.

“I can’t wait to be in Argentina to witness the insanity of this.”

Published On:

Dec 19, 2022

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