Lionel Messi says 2022 World Cup will be ‘the last’

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The 2022 World Cup looks set to be Lionel Messi’s last.

The 35-year-old star said in an interview with Star Plus on Thursday that the Qatar tournament would be “the last”. Messi is making headlines with an Argentinian side who are one of the favorites to win the cup in December as they are unbeaten in their last 34 games.

It comes as no shock that Messi won’t play at the 2026 World Cup in North America, although it’s worth noting that he previously announced his departure from international football. Messi said he was retiring after Argentina lost the 2017 Copa America final on penalties but reversed his decision months later. He also briefly resigned from the team after the 2018 World Cup.

However, Messi is probably serious about this international retirement. The former Barcelona and current Paris Saint-Germain star will turn 39 during this tournament and may not play competitive football again. This year’s World Cup is also likely to be the swan song for Messi’s long-time rival for the best player in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo. Stars like Luka Modric and Karim Benzema could also play in their last World Cup games.

Messi enters the 2022 World Cup without the weight of his country’s winning streak in major tournaments. Argentina hadn’t won a major tournament in Messi’s international career until they won the Copa America in 2021.

Argentina have not won the World Cup since winning two games out of three in 1978 and 1986, and since Messi was called up to the national team in 2005, they have only made it out of the quarter-finals once in 2010, before finishing runners-up to Germany in 2014. Argentina lost 4-3 to eventual champions France in the round of 16 in 2018.

At BetMGM, Argentina is currently the second biggest favorite with France to win the 2022 World Cup at +600. Brazil, who beat Argentina in last year’s Copa America, are the favorites at +400, while England are at +700 and Spain at +800. The tournament begins on November 20 when hosts Qatar take on Ecuador.

Lionel Messi and Argentina are +600 to win the World Cup in what may be his last major tournament. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)



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