Argentina captain, Lionel Messi, has revealed that the 2022 World Cup in Qatar will be the last of his career.
Messi, who will play in his fifth World Cup, is still seeking his first title.
The 35-year-old has now admitted he feels nervous ahead of his last appearance on world football’s biggest stage.
“There’s some anxiety and nerves at the same time. It is the last one,” Messi said in an interview with Star Plus.
It is the first time the Paris Saint-Germain striker has spoken openly about his future after the tournament, with Messi having not said definitively whether he would retire from the national team after Qatar.
Argentina, who are unbeaten in their past 35 competitive matches, will arrive at the World Cup with their confidence high after winning the 2021 Copa America final against hosts Brazil, which Messi believes was a turning point for his team after several near misses.
“In a World Cup, anything can happen. All the matches are very tough. The favourites don’t always end up winning,” Messi said. “I don’t know if we’re the favourites, but Argentina is always a candidate because of its history. Now even more so because of the moment we’re in, but we are not the favourites. I think there are other teams that are above us.”
Argentina won the World Cup in 1978 and 1986. The team will open the tournament on Nov. 22 against Saudi Arabia in Group C before facing Mexico and Poland.
“I feel good, physically,” Messi said. “I had a good preseason this year, which I wasn’t able to do the year before [when he moved from Barca to PSG]. It was key to starting off better, as I did, with a lot of mental focus and eagerness.”