Lionel Messi announces he will NOT retire as Argentina captain hints he could defend the 2026 World Cup at the age of 39

WORLD CUP winner Lionel Messi has confirmed he will not be retiring from international football.

The star was instrumental in Argentina’s third World Cup win as they defeated France at the Lusail Stadium.

Lionel Messi has confirmed that he will not retire from international football after winning the World Cup

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Lionel Messi has confirmed that he will not retire from international football after winning the World CupCredit: AP
Messi even hinted that he could defend the World Cup in four years

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Messi even hinted that he could defend the World Cup in four yearsCredit: AP

There were hints that the 35-year-old would retire from international football after the final but he has quashed those rumours.

He told TyC Sports after the game: “I’m not retiring from the Argentina national team.

“I want to keep playing as a champion”.

Messi also admitted he feels fulfilled after winning the final trophy to complete his cabinet.

He added: “We are suffering but we already have it (the World Cup).

“I wanted to end my career with it. I can’t ask for anything else. Thank God he gave me everything.”

Messi scored twice in the scintillating game that went down to penalties, with Gonzalo Montiel’s penalty sealing the win.

Despite leading 2-0 in the game, Argentina were pushed back after a brace from Kylian Mbappe.

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The French star then equalized Messi’s goal in extra time with his second penalty.

But it was to be Messi’s tournament, with the PSG ace also being honored with the Golden Ball as the tournament’s best player.

However, Mbappe brought him to the Golden Boot as he scored eight goals in his seven games.

And after lifting the trophy, Messi admitted how ‘lucky’ he feels to have had such a glittering career.

He said: “I’ve been fortunate to have achieved everything in this career… and what’s been missing is here.

“It’s insane… look how it (the World Cup) is, it’s beautiful.

“I wanted her so bad. I had a vision that this would be the one…she was getting close.”

He added in an Instagram post: “WORLD CHAMPIONS!! I’ve dreamed of this so many times, I wanted it so badly, I can’t believe it…

“Thank you to my family, to everyone who supports me and also to everyone who believed in us.

“We are showing once again that as Argentines, if we fight together and united, we are capable of achieving what we set out to do.

“The credit goes to this group that is above individualities, it is the strength of everyone to fight for the same dream that was the dream of all Argentines… We did it!!!”

Messi’s next international tournament will be the Copa America in 2024.

Argentina are aiming to retain the trophy after winning the competition in 2021.

Manager Lionel Scaloni has also said he would welcome Messi to continue playing for Argentina.

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He said: “Messi should have a place at the next World Cup, we want him to continue.

“If he wants to continue playing, the ’10’ will always be ready for Lionel.”

https://www.the-sun.com/sport/6944287/lionel-messi-reveals-retire-argentina-defend-world-cup/ Lionel Messi announces he will NOT retire as Argentina captain hints he could defend the 2026 World Cup at the age of 39

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