“The matches I’ll play now aren’t the same as when I was in Europe” - Lionel Messi makes honest admission on playing 2026 FIFA World Cup

Jamaica v Argentina
Lionel Messi during Jamaica v Argentina

Lionel Messi has admitted that he will take time to decide on his participation at the 2026 World Cup. The Argentine wants to see how he is physically close to the tournament before making the final decision.

The Inter Miami star was talking to television presenter Pollo Alvarez when he stated that it was too early to be talking about making the team for the FIFA World Cup in 2026. He added that age is catching up to him and he is aware of it in the matches he is playing right now. He said:

"It depends on how I feel, how I am physically, and being realistic with myself. Knowing if I am capable of competing and helping my teammates. Knowing how I am physically. There's still a lot of time left... in quotes, 'a lot and a little,' because it goes by quickly, but there is still some time and I don't know how I will be at that moment. Age is also a reality that is there, even though it's just a number."

He added:

"The matches I will play now aren't the same as those I played when I was in Europe competing every three days, either in the Champions League or in the league, whether in France or Spain. But it depends on how I feel and what I feel being alongside my teammates, and seeing if I am still up to the level or not... let's see."

Lionel Messi was touted to retire after the 2022 FIFA World Cup but decided to continue after Argentina won the tournament in Qatar. He claimed that he was keen on continuing as a World Champion and has not hinted at retirement since.

Lionel Messi has spoken about 2026 World Cup on multiple occasions

Lionel Messi was talking to TyC Sports earlier last year when he was quizzed about his chances of making the 2026 FIFA World Cup. He was honest about his chances and admitted that he wants to make it, but will not make a decision now.

He said:

"I don't know, I always said because of age it seems to me that it is very difficult. I love playing football. I love what I do, and as long as I am well and feel in physical condition and continue to enjoy this, I will do it. But it seems difficult. I'm telling you. ... I'm not ahead of anything. That's what I repeat and I'm going to repeat. Because of age and time, I think it's difficult. But it depends on how my career goes."

Lionel Messi is now set to lead Argentina at Copa America this summer. They are looking to retain the crown they won in 2021 – the Inter Miami star's first international trophy.

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