Lionel Messi Confirms That Qatar 2022 Will His Last World Cup.

After putting up a sensational performance against Croatia on Tuesday night, Argentina star Lionel Messi has confirmed that Qatar 2022 would be “his last World Cup”. 

An inspired Messi scored from the penalty spot to break the deadlock, and Julian Alvarez struck twice as Argentina beat 2018 finalist Croatia 3-0 at the Lusail Stadium to reach their second World Cup final in eight years.

The two-times world champions, produced their best display of the tournament to ensure they will meet the winner of Wednesday’s second semi-final clash between holders France and Morocco in Sunday’s final.

READ MORE: Messi And Alvarez Fires Argentina To The 2022 World Cup Final.

Messi, 35, is playing at his fifth World Cup and played a key role in the side that qualified for the final in 2014, which they sadly lost 1-0 to Germany after extra time, courtesy of a late goal from Mario Gotze, now of Eintracht Frankfurt.

Messi was awarded the Golden Ball as the best player of the tournament after being the joint-third highest goal scorer, with four goals and an assist, while he also created the most chances of any individual player. 

The seven-time Ballon d'Or winner is now desperate to crown his extraordinary career by winning his first-ever World Cup title, and giving Argentina a third title to add to those won in 1978 and 1986 respectively.

Messi has been in sensational form in Qatar, scoring five goals, three assists so far in the tournament. Messi’s final magical assist to Alvarez now puts him in contention for the Golden Boot race ahead of his PSG teammate Kylian Mbappé who has five goals and two assists.

READ MORE: Messi And Alvarez Fires Argentina To The 2022 World Cup Final.

The high standard of his performances have led to speculation that he could attempt to star at a sixth World Cup in 2026.

It would certainly be a big ask for him to return at the age of 39 to participate in the 2026 tournament in the USA, Canada and Mexico.

But, speaking after Argentina’s win over Croatia, Messi said that he expected the current tournament in Qatar to be his last.

“It’s my last World Cup,” he said as quoted the Athletic.

“It is impressive to end up playing a final. There’s a long way to go for the next one, there are many years and surely because of age I won’t get to it.” 

The forward added that he hoped his side could go one better than in 2014, 

Messi said: “It’s the sixth (World Cup) final that Argentina is going to play and I’ll have played in two. 

“Hopefully this time it ends up another way.”

“Personally I’m very happy, I’m enjoying it a lot and I’m happy that I’m able to help my squad make things happen,”

“The first match was a hard blow. For us to start this way was hard, we didn’t think we would lose against Saudi Arabia, it was a test but we proved how strong we are.

“It was very difficult because every match was a final for us. We were aware that if we didn’t win it would be more complicated.”

The World Cup has always been so elusive for Lionel Messi, but he has another golden opportunity to lead Argentina to a World Cup title and add his name to Diego Maradona's, in terms of capping a legendary career for his country with the greatest tournament victory in world football. 

With just one game away from delivering the coveted trophy to his country, Messi and Argentina, will play either reigning champions France or African giants Morocco in Sunday’s World Cup final. The second semi-final takes place on Wednesday night.

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