Despite achieving his lifelong goal of winning the World Cup, Argentine superstar Lionel Messi promised on Sunday to continue playing for his country.
Messi, 35, made this known to Argentine television after Argentina’s dramatic penalty shootout triumph against France in the World Cup final in Doha.
“I want to keep experiencing a few more matches as world champion,”
However, Messi revealed that his career was nearly over when he won the last major international trophy he was missing.
The Paris Saint-Germain front scored two goals in the thrilling and chaotic final, which ended 3-3 after 120 enthralling minutes, and the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner scored his penalty kick in the shootout, which Argentina won 4-2.
“Obviously I would like to end my career with this, I cannot ask for more,” said Messi.
“My career is nearly over because these are my last years.”.
And after so many losses on the grandest platform in football, including losing the 2014 World Cup final in Brazil to Germany, Messi stated that he always believed his moment will come.
“It’s crazy that it happened at the time it happened, but it’s amazing,” he said.
“It’s amazing that it could end this way. I said previously that God was going to grant me this and I don’t know why but I felt it was going to be this time.”
Messi said it was difficult to understand why Argentina surrendered a two-goal lead late in the game for the second time in a week, following their quarterfinal victory over the Netherlands.
Argentina led 2-0 at halftime and 3-2 in extra time, but a hat-trick from Kylian Mbappe, including two late goals in regulation time and one in extra time, pushed Argentina back and forced penalties.
“It was a very strange match, the same as the other one against the Netherlands, and then when we went ahead in the extra time it happened again,” said Messi.
However, he continued, “the World Cup trophy is beautiful.”
Messi hugged his family and teammates after the game, while coach Lionel Scaloni, winger Angel Di Maria, who scored Argentina’s second goal, and goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez were overcome with emotion.
Since his debut in 2005, Messi has made 172 appearances for Argentina and scored 98 goals.