Argentina’s World Cup-winning captain Lionel Messi has quashed speculation and pledged to continue playing for his country, despite realising his lifetime ambition of winning the sport’s biggest prize.
“I want to keep experiencing a few more matches as world champion,” the 35-year-old told Argentinian television following an epic penalty shoot-out victory over France in the World Cup final in Qatar on Sunday.
“I was lucky to clinch every title in my career, this was the only one missing,” Messi said. “I want to take this one there [to Argentina] and enjoy it with everybody else.”
Messi opened the scoring for Argentina with a 23rd-minute penalty and also found the net in extra-time for the 3-2 in the 108th.
France’s 23-year-old superstar Kylian Mbappe completed his hat-trick to take the game to a shoot-out, in which he and Messi also scored.
Messi, now indisputably one of the greatest players the game has ever seen, had said the tournament in Qatar would be his last World Cup.