Now 35 years old, Lionel Messi is set to play in his final FIFA World Cup as the 2022 edition takes place in Qatar, with Argentina slated as a potential winner.
The all-time great has won just about everything there is to win at the elite level of world football, except for the one crowning achievement — a FIFA World Cup.
Messi finally got the monkey off his back by winning his first senior international tournament with Argentina in 2021, as the Albiceleste hoisted the Copa America. The PSG forward was openly emotional afterwards about the feelings he experienced as he got his first taste of international glory.
Could 2022 provide Messi with a chance to go out on top? Will he feel he can no longer carry Argentina as he has so many times before? Will he exit the international stage unfulfilled after falling short yet again? Here's what we know.
MORE: Messi hints at retirement after 2022 World Cup
Is this Messi's last World Cup?
According to the man himself, Qatar 2022 will be his final World Cup appearance.
When asked by Sebastian Vignolo on his show 'In First Person' on South American streaming service Star+ on October 6 whether this will be his last World Cup, Messi replied, "Yes, definitely yes."
This will be my last World Cup — for sure. The decision has been made. I am counting down the days to the World Cup. There is a bit of anxiety and nerves at the same time.
– Leo Messi on the Qatar 2022 World Cup.
The Argentine superstar will be 39 years old by the time the 2026 World Cup in the United States comes around, and only a handful of players ha messi 30 barcelona jersey ve participated in a major international tournament at that advanced age.
Back in March 2022, Messi said he was only focused on the immediate future, and his long-term plans were not yet known. But he hinted at the decision that he eventually announced.
"The truth is that I don't know," Messi told media in translated postgame comments after a 3-0 win over Venezuela in CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying in March 2022. "I'm thinking about what's coming next … and then the World Cup [in Qatar].
"Then, I don't know. After the  World Cup I will have to reassess many things, whether it goes well psg kit dls or not, hopefully in the best way. But surely after the World Cup, many things change."
A few of Messi's international teammates have also made their future plans concrete. Fellow Argentina international Angel Di Maria has also confirmed he will be retiring from inte messi shirt rnational football after the 2022 World Cup, as the 34-year-old hopes to extend his club career as long as possible.
That World Cup will be a major spectacle with expansion to 48 teams. And it will also be hosted by a group of countries (USA, Canada and Mexico) which could yet represent a lucrative commercial frontier for someone like Messi.
What happens if Argentina fall just short in 2022, like they did in 2014? Could that push Messi to postpone international retirement for another four years for one final attempt at winning the big one?
Again, only time will tell but as of now, Qatar will present his final World Cup adventure.
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Can Messi win the 2022 World Cup?
Argentina are considered one of the challengers for the 2022 World Cup title, but they're not among the top betting candidates. That designation falls to the likes of Brazil, France, and England.
Still, Messi's side has drawn a group they're capable of winning, with fellow Group C teams Mexico, Poland, and Saudi Arabia all considered beatable by the No. 3 team in the world.
Should Argentina advance to the knockout stage, their psg goalkeeper jersey 2020 quarterfinal opponent would come from Group D, which includes France, Australia, Denmark, or Tunisia. That makes it vital for Argentina to win Group C, giving them the best chance to avoid expected Group D winners France, who knocked them out of the 2018 World Cup in the quarterfinals.
A potential win in the quarterfinals would see Argentina match up with an opponent from either Grou psg shirt messi 30 p A or B, which could include the likes of England, the Netherlands, Senegal, Wales, or the United States.
2022 World Cup betting
How many World Cups has Messi won?
Messi has not won a World Cup so far in his career.
The Argentine forward has failed to advance past the quarterfinals in three of his four World Cup tournaments, reaching the final in the other attempt.
Germany has been Messi's arch nemesis, downing Argentina in three of his four World Cups, including the 2014 final which saw Mario Gotze's extra-time winner prove decisive.
|Year||Stage Reached||Final Result|
|2006||Quarterfinals||Draw with Germany 1-1
(Germany adv. 4-2 on pens)
|2010||Quarterfinals||Loss to Germany 4-0|
|2014||Final||Loss to Germany 1-0 (a.e.t.)|
|2018||Round of 16||Loss to France 4-3|
MORE: Watch Lionel Messi's best goal for PSG
Messi World Cup goals, games
Shockingly, the World Cup is one tournament in which Messi has proven consistently poor throughout his career.
Playing in four World Cup final tournaments prior to landing in Qatar, Messi has scored just six goals, including none in the knockout stage. It's probably no coincidence that his most productive tournament was 2014 (four goals, one assist), when Argentina reached the final.
In the last World Cup in 2018, the former Barcelona star saw his nation succumb to eventual champions France in the Round of 16, where Messi delivered two assists in a losing effort (4-3).
|Year||Matches||G psg shirt sponsor oals||Assists||Minutes|