Lionel Messi, the football icon, has announced his retirement from international football following the conclusion of the ongoing FIFA World Cup 2022 on Sunday, December 18.
Messi helped Argentina qualify for the final after a commanding 3-0 win over Croatia in Tuesday’s semi-final, scoring first and providing an assist for two-goal hero Julian Alvarez to earn Argentina its first World Cup final appearance since 2014.
“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 said after the game to Argentine media outlet Diario Deportivo Ole.
“The next one is many years away, and I don’t think I’ll be able to do it. And, finally,
“The next one is many years away, and I don’t think I’ll be able to do it. And to finish like this is the best,” Argentina’s captain added.
Argentina hasn’t won the World Cup since 1986, when Diego Maradona led the team to victory.
Messi came close in 2014, but fell short in extra time to Germany. Argentina has reached the tournament final for the eighth time in eight years.
Messi is competing in his fifth World Cup, surpassing Diego Maradona and Javier Mascherano’s previous best of four.
With his fifth goal in Qatar, he surpassed Gabriel Batistuta to become the Albiceleste’s all-time leading World Cup scorer, with 11 goals.
Argentina will compete in the World Cup final on Sunday against either France or Morocco.