Lionel Messi reveals decision on Argentina future after Copa America

Lionel Messi reveals decision on Argentina future after Copa America

Lionel Messi has revealed he has no plans to walk away from international football with Argentina after this weekend’s Copa America final.

Messi has helped Argentina reach the showpiece of another major tournament, scoring the killer second goal in the semi-final against Canada. It will be the seventh senior international final of his career, having won each of his last two in 2021 and 2022.

But while the world has been speculating about whether 39-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo will continue to play for Portugal following Euro 2024, a 37-year-old Messi insists he definitely won’t quit just yet.

“As I’ve said before, I intend to continue,” the eight-time Ballon d’Or winner said. “I intend to keep living day by day without thinking about what will come in the future or whether I’ll continue or not. It’s something I just live each day. I’m 37 years and only God knows when the end will be.”

Messi won Olympic gold with Argentina in 2008 but endured disappointment after disappointment when it came to the senior side. As a 20-year-old, he was part of the squad that lost in the 2007 Copa America final against fierce rivals Brazil. In 2014, Argentina lost the World Cup final against Germany, while there were then successive final defeats to Chile in 2015 and 2016 Copa Americas.

After an underwhelming World Cup in 2018 ended at the first knockout round, and with Ronaldo finally getting his hands on international silverware in 2016 at the European Championship, questions were increasingly asked if Messi would ever land that elusive trophy with his country.

That finally changed three years ago when Argentina reached the Copa America final again, but this time emerged victorious courtesy of a single goal from Angel Di Maria. A year after that, it was the World Cup in Qatar, with Messi landing the Golden Ball as the tournament’s best player.

Messi finally won the World Cup in 2022 / Dan Mullan/GettyImages

Argentina will face either Colombia or Uruguay in the final. Whatever happens, it will be Di Maria’s last game in the famous blue and white stripes – the 36-year-old winger has announced his intention to step away from the national team after 16 years and nearly 150 games.

“I’m not ready for my last game in the national team, but it’s time. Whatever happens in the final, I think I can leave through the front door. I gave everything,” Di Maria explained.

“I always gave my life for this shirt. There were times when I didn’t get to, but lately I have. I am grateful to everyone who supported me.”

Di Maria has played in four of Argentina’s five games so far and is tipped to take his club career back to South America once the tournament is over, to rejoin boyhood club Rosario Central. He originally left for Portugal way back in 2007 at the age of 19 and after only 39 first-team games.


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