Argentina superstar Lionel Messi will be 39 by the time the 2026 FIFA World Cup kicks off. Messi added the only missing prize in his glittering trophy cabinet by winning the World Cup in Qatar last year. The 35-year-old Messi also won the Golden Ball for being the player of the tournament in what was probably his final World Cup. However, FIFA’s president, like almost all soccer fans, wants Messi to play in the upcoming World Cup.
During a recent interview, FIFA president Gianni Infantino expressed his desire to see Lionel Messi play in the upcoming World Cup. He said, “I hope that Leo Messi will be present at the next World Cup 2026.” Moreover, Infantino also stated that he wanted Messi to play in the 2030 and the 2034 World Cup. While Infantino‘s statements echo the sentiments of all soccer fans, it’d be a Herculean task for Messi to fulfill Infantino’s wishes.
🚨🗣️ Gianni Infantino (FIFA President) :
“I hope that Leo Messi will be present at the next World Cup 2026, the next World Cup 2030, and the 2034 World Cup, until the time he wants to stop” pic.twitter.com/yYYzs5gAlm
— PSG Chief (@psg_chief) December 6, 2023
Lionel Messi put on one of the greatest displays in the World Cup in Qatar last year. The diminutive forward scored seven goals, including two in the final, and provided three assists. He also broke numerous records in the tournament, such as the most appearances (26), most man-of-the-match awards (11), and most goal contributions (21).
He also became the only player in history to win the Golden Ball in two different World Cup editions. In addition to this, he became the first player to provide an assist in five different World Cups, and the most games as a captain (19). Last but not least, Messi became the only player to score in all stages of the tournament- the group stages, round of 16, quarterfinal, semifinal, and the final.
Lionel Messi’s participation in the next World Cup depends upon Copa America 2024
Meanwhile, Lionel Messi has finally opened up about his participation in the 2026 World Cup. During an interview with the Argentine journalist Sebastian Vignolo, Messi revealed his plans for the upcoming World Cup. Messi said, “I don’t think about the World Cup yet and I CAN’T say that I WON’T be there too because everything can happen later.“
🚨 Leo Messi talks about the World Cup 2026
“Now I want to be here more than ever because after having spent so many years suffering, today we are experiencing a special moment that I have never experienced with the Argentine national team.
“I want to enjoy, I want to enjoy… pic.twitter.com/l5k7E9ACES
— All About Argentina 🛎🇦🇷 (@AlbicelesteTalk) December 1, 2023
Messi also stated that his future at the national team heavily depends on Copa America 2024. Messi’s Argentina will be setting sights on defending the title they won two years ago in the United States next year. However, with Argentine forward Angel Di Maria retiring from the national team after the tournament and reports about coach Lionel Scaloni’s departure next year too, Messi’s presence in the 2026 World Cup remains in doubt.