Former Paris Saint Germaine forward Lionel Messi has confirmed that the 2022 FIFA World Cup will likely be his last. This essentially rules him out of the 2026 North American joint tournament. Messi finally won the World Cup in Qatar last December, leading Argentina past France in a gripping final to cement his legacy as the greatest footballer ever.
The competition will take place from June 11 to July 19, 2026, across the United States, Mexico, and Canada, which means that before then, the Argentina international will be almost 39 years old. Titan Sports asked whether he would play at the 2026 tournament, in which the forward replied, “I think not. [Qatar] was my last World Cup. I’ll see how things go, but as it is right now, no, I won’t go to the next World Cup”.
Messi is expected to earn as much as £43m per year in MLS and has confirmed his club football future having opted to let his two-year contract at Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain expire. Despite interest from ex-club Barcelona and a £344m contract offer from Saudi Arabian club Al-Hilal, the forward opted to move to MLS club Inter Miami.
Argentina’s legend is set to end his World Cup career as the competition’s only ever two-time Golden Ball winner, the fourth-highest goalscorer, and the all-time appearance maker. His move Stateside is anticipated to drive up interest in the sport ahead of the 2026 World Cup, which will be co-hosted by the US, Canada and Mexico.