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With the 2018 FIFA World Cup approaching, all the world’s attention will be on some of the star teams and star players, such as Lionel Messi of Argentina. Messi’s case is particularly special in this regard, as Argentina lost the finals of their last three big competitions, i.e. Copa America and 2014 FIFA World Cup. It is not an easy situation to take for sure, and what could be another strong attempt by the Argentine captain to take his team to yet another FIFA World Cup final, could also be one of Messi’s last World Cup appearance. Speaking with Sport, Messi didn’t deny the fact, and said that it would depend on how the World Cup goes for the 30-year-old.
Getting to three competition finals is not an easy task for any given team, but Messi’s Argentina have been doing it, without, however, getting to conquer any title. Therefore, there are a number of challenges that present themselves to Lionel Messi and Argentina at the World Cup – first, the struggle that the team has been doing, and second, Lionel Messi’s age and longevity. These factors will make it really challenging for the the team and their manager Jorge Sampaoli, to make the Russia edition of the World Cup a success.
Pique retires from the national team after 2018 FIFA World Cup. Messi to follow?
Messi’s Barcelona co-star Piqué, who plays for the Spanish national team, is the same age as Messi, and has announced that he plans on leaving the national team after the 2018 World Cup. Speaking about whether a similar move can be expected from Messi, he said,
“I don’t know. It will depend on how we go, how we end up. The fact of going through three finals without winning made us go through difficult times with the press and the Argentine press because of the differences in seeing what it means to reach a final. It is not easy and you have to value them. It is true that the important thing is to win them but getting there is not easy.”
While Messi’s retirement has become a concern with Argentina lagging behind in world domination, things could apparently be seen in a different light if La Albiceleste manage to win the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Speaking about what would be his next motivation after winning the coveted title, Messi said,
“The same as much as I won that tournament in Russia. I won many titles at club level and the following year the motivation was the same, with the idea of winning again. With the World Cup it would be the same. It will not change anything.”
Speaking about the teams which could pose a lethal threat to Argentina for the players they have playing amongst them, Messi named a few and said that the presence of stars and gifted footballers, the World Cup competition would be well matched-up. He said,
“There are several that come very well with confidence, game and individual players as is the case in Brazil, Germany, Spain, France and Belgium although this is not named so much. This selection has very good players and the experience of the last World Cup. It will be an even World Cup.”
Messi was asked to name a player that he would like to rope in to make him play for Argentina, as there are many moves of such nature that could determine the result of the competition. Declining the temptation, Messi said,
“There are many and very good but we also have them, players of individual level that any selection would like to have. We do not have to envy anyone. It depends on how this World Cup goes, I will continue playing or not playing with Argentina”