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How Messi Could Still Play at 2026 World Cup for Argentina, According to his National Teammate
- Lionel Messi could make an appearance for his country at the 2026 FIFA World Cup
- His Argentina teammate, Nicolas Tagliafico, said Copa America success is the 'key'
- The 36-year-old inspired La Albiceleste to victory at the global tournament in 2022
Lionel Messi could still feature at the 2026 FIFA World Cup if Argentina wins the 2024 Copa America, according to his compatriot, Nicolas Tagliafico.
Messi finally 'completed football' by adding the one title missing from his trophy cabinet, guiding La Albiceleste to their first Mundial since 1986.
The veteran led Argentina to victory over France in a penalty shootout, in what was described as the best final in the quadrennial tournament's history.
The 36-year-old emerged as the standout player of the competition, contributing seven crucial goals on the path to lifting the coveted trophy, per Radio Times.
Initially, Messi had no intention of featuring in the 2026 World Cup, which would have marked his sixth appearance in the global showcase, following his move to MLS side, Inter Miami in June.
However, he has since softened his stance.
Although the prospect of 2026 might seem distant, Messi's primary focus is on the upcoming Copa America, where he aims to assist Lionel Scaloni's team in defending their title.
His Argentine teammate, Tagliafico has since unveiled the possibility of the former Barcelona and PSG star featuring in the defence of the South American nation's world title.
"Do you know what the key is for Messi to play in the 2026 World Cup? Win Copa America next year. He would have left if we had not won the World Cup in Qatar," he told Migue Granados, via GOAL.
"But he won [the World Cup] and he wants to enjoy these months. But if we go to the United States and win the Copa America, he will want to continue," Tagliafico stated.
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Messi 'undecided' about 2026 World Cup appearance
Earlier, Sports Brief reported that Messi is yet to make a decision regarding his participation in the 2026 FIFA World Cup in the USA, Mexico, and Canada.
Following his triumph in the 2022 edition with Argentina, which many deemed his last attempt, he delivered inspiring performances to secure the victory.
With the 2026 World Cup commencing when Messi is 39 years old, fans have expressed their doubts about whether he will lead his country once more.