Lionel Messi insists he will NOT retire from Argentina duty after guiding them to world title
Lionel Messi last night vowed to continue playing for Argentina after finally hoisting football’s greatest prize after a never-ending World Cup final.
After ending his country’s 36-year wait for the World Cup and being donned in a ceremonial Qatari “Bisht” robe by the Emir of Qatar, the 35-year-old player of that tournament said he “wanted to keep playing in Argentina”. Jersey as World Champion.’
An emotional Lionel Scaloni, Argentina’s coach last night also raised hopes that Messi would be at the 2026 World Cup in the United States, Canada and Mexico. The 44-year-old also credited Messi for heart-to-heart encouragement during a late-night phone call after the nation battled Brazil in a qualifier a year ago.
Argentine legend Lionel Messi has revealed that he has no plans to retire from international football
The 35-year-old superstar led his nation to their first World Cup triumph since 1986 on Sunday
Scaloni said: “We have to save him for the next World Cup – 2026. If he wants to keep playing, he will be with us. He has more than the right to decide what he wants to do with his career now.’
Messi had told Scaloni in the phone call: “It will be fine. We will continue. We have to at least try.” Scaloni said of her presentation: “With his answer I realized that we did things right. That gave me so much energy, it was an emotional boost.”
Messi failed to present himself as man of the match at a press conference. But emotion was written all over the No.10’s face after Argentina’s penalty shoot-out win when his mother Celia Cuccittini approached him and they hugged on the pitch.
Messi, whom many fans consider the greatest player in history, has finally won football’s greatest prize
Scaloni said that within a year of taking over as coach in 2018, he decided his strategy had to be to find players who could work for Messi and help him. “We realized that we have great players and that we can make things easier for Messi. Help him,’ said the trainer. “It was about recognizing who would help Messi on the pitch and who would be comfortable with him.”
After 80 minutes of the final, Messi seemed to have achieved the place in Argentine lore that Diego Maradona discovered when he brought home the trophy in 1986 – only for his PSG teammate Kylian Mbappe, who led an exceptional comeback and took two in 97 seconds goals scored.
But Mbappe was the one left devastated. He became the first player since Geoff Hurst in 1966 to score a hat-trick in the World Cup final and clinched the golden boot for his eight goals to Messi’s seven but still ended on the losing side. “Kylian made his mark, but not in the way he would have liked. France coach Didier Deschamps said he was very disappointed.
After a thrilling 3-3 draw, Argentina defeated France 4-2 on penalties to win the tournament
Deschamps, whose substitutions and moving Messi down the middle were keys to the comeback, said he felt the virus that hit team camp may have hit his players. Deschamps said: “The team has been in a difficult situation for some time and that could have affected them. We just didn’t show the energy for an hour.’
There will be some who don’t see Argentina as heroes today. Emiliano Martinez scored the penalty spot as Mbappe took his second penalty to complete a hat-trick in extra time.
He then kicked the ball away as Aurélien Tchouameni prepared for his penalty shoot-out free-kick.
France coach Didier Deschamps seemed dissatisfied with the refereeing decisions in the first half
Deschamps was merciful in the defeat but hinted at Argentina’s skill. “Argentina showed great aggressiveness, experience and cunning,” he said.
Martinez, whose team taunted the Dutch after penalties in the quarter-finals, was ungrateful. He said: “Two crappy shots and they (France) equalized. You give them another penalty, they scored a goal. Thank God I later did my thing that I dreamed of.
“There could not have been a World Cup that I dreamed of. I was calm during the penalty shootout.”
Deschamps, who said his team “came back from the dead” in the game, appeared unhappy with some of the refereeing decisions, with the penalty Angel di Maria receiving to put his team ahead was certainly very questionable. “I said before the game that Argentina were lucky,” observed Deschamps. “I’m not saying they were helped. But I spoke to the referee.’
France captain Hugo Lloris did not blame the virus for the side’s struggle in the first 70 minutes of the game. He said: “We won’t apologize, we gave it our all. You have to congratulate the guys because we didn’t give up until the end.”
Scaloni said he wished Maradona, who died in 2020, had been present to witness the team’s glory. “We are such a football-loving country and if he were here he would have enjoyed it so much. I wish he was here to enjoy this moment,” he said.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-11551903/Lionel-Messi-reveals-NOT-retiring-Argentina-duty-guiding-World-Cup-glory.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Lionel Messi insists he will NOT retire from Argentina duty after guiding them to world title