2026 World Cup: Lionel Messi Not Ruling Out Playing for Argentina After Winning 8th Ballon d’Or

2026 World Cup: Lionel Messi Not Ruling Out Playing for Argentina After Winning 8th Ballon d’Or

Elijah Odetokun
November 4, 2023 at 9:55 AM
  • Lionel Messi led Argentina to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar at 35
  • Messi won his record-extending eighth Ballon d'Or for his exploits
  • He is not sure if he will be at the 2026 edition but has not ruled it out

Lionel Messi has not decided whether he will be at the 2026 FIFA World Cup in the USA, Mexico and Canada after winning the 2022 Mundial with Argentina.

The World Cup in Qatar was tagged by many as Messi's last attempt, and he shouldered his country's burden, delivering inspiring performances to win the tournament.

He was 35 when he led Argentina to the Mundial last year, which earned him praise from fans and pundits for how he delivered top-level performances despite not being at his peak physically.

Lionel Messi, Ezeiza Airport, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Lionel Messi arriving in Buenos Aires after leading Argentina to the 2022 World Cup. Photo by Luis Robayo/AFP.
Source: Getty Images

He is confirmed to play at the 2024 Copa America, which will be held in the United States and feature six countries from CONCACAF, but his presence in the national team beyond that is uncertain.

Messi is not ruling out the 2026 World Cup

The former Barcelona captain will be 39 when the 2026 World Cup kicks off, which has raised concerns from fans on whether he will be there to captain his country again.

Speaking to France Football via AlbicelesteTalk, he acknowledged the fact that age would not be on his side but did not give a final word on whether he would be there or not.

“The 2026 World Cup? Considering the age I will be at that time, it seems difficult, but we'll see,” he said.
“I don’t know for how long I will continue playing. I want to continue until I feel that I cannot do more and that my physical condition does not allow me to play as I would like. Time will tell.”

His contract with Inter Miami will run out by December 2025, and no update is known on his future beyond that time, with many speculating he could hang his boots.

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Di Maria to retire in 2024

Sports Brief reported on Di Maria announcing his retirement from the national team will come after representing Argentina at the 2024 Copa America.

The Benfica winger is one of the best players to come out of Argentina and scored in the final of all major competitions he won for the country, including the lone goal in the 2021 Copa and the World Cup.

Messi beat Haaland by 105 points

Sports Brief reported on Messi winning the 2023 Ballon d'Or ahead of Erling Haaland by a 105-point margin after France Football released the voting details.

The World Cup winner had 462 points, while the Manchester City striker had 357 points. Both men received number 1 votes from their countries, Argentina and Norway, respectively.

Elijah Odetokun photo
Elijah Odetokun
Elijah Odetokun is Reuters-trained journalist with three years of experience having previously worked at Daily Times Nigeria, OmaSports and El Futbolero.
Lionel Messi2022 FIFA World Cup