Lionel Messi has confirmed he will play his last World Cup game when Argentina take on either France or Morocco in the final in Qatar.
Messi led Argentina to a 3-0 win over Croatia in their semifinal match on Tuesday and he will earn his 172nd cap at the weekend when he tries to bring Argentina its first World Cup title since 1986.
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“I feel very happy, to be able to achieve this, to finish my World Cup journey by playing my last game in a final,” Messi told Argentinian sports outlet Diario Deportivo Ole.
“It’s many years for the next one and I don’t think I’ll be able to do it. And to finish like this, it’s the best,” the Argentina captain said.
🇦🇷🔟 Messi anunció que es su último Mundial: "Terminar mi recorrido en los Mundiales jugando mi último partido en una final… Son muchos años para el siguiente y no creo que me dé. Y terminar de esta manera, es lo máximo".
SIMPLEMENTE GRACIAS ❤️ Termine como termine, GRACIAS ❤️ pic.twitter.com/UxiFw1zfyt
— Diario Olé (@DiarioOle) December 14, 2022
The 35-year-old is playing at his fifth World Cup, surpassing the four of former Argentinian stars Diego Maradona and Javier Mascherano.
With his fifth goal in Qatar, he also surpassed Gabriel Batistuta as the top Albiceleste scorer at a World Cup, netting 11 times.
“It’s all well and good (the records), but the important thing is to be able to achieve the group objective, which is the most beautiful thing of all,” Messi added.
“We’re just one step away, after fighting hard, and we’re going to give everything to try to make it happen this time.”
France plays Morocco in the other semifinal on Wednesday and the winner of that match will play Argentina on Sunday.