Football legend Lionel Messi has quashed speculation and pledged to continue playing for his country, despite realising his lifetime ambition of winning the sport’s biggest prize.
“I want to keep experiencing a few more matches as world champion,” Argentina’s World Cup-winning captain told Argentinian television following an epic penalty shoot-out victory over France in the World Cup final in Qatar on Sunday.
“I was lucky to clinch every title in my career, this was the only one missing. I want to take this one there [to Argentina] and enjoy it with everybody else,” the 35-year-old said.
Messi, one of the greatest players the game has ever seen, had said the tournament in Qatar would be his last World Cup.
He opened the scoring for Argentina with a 23rd-minute penalty and also found the net in extra-time for the 3-2 in the 108th.
Messi ended the tournament with 7 goals, one behind Mbappe who netted 8 for France. He shattered the record for most World Cup appearances with his 26th on Sunday night and now has 13 goals in World Cup history.
Messi was also awarded the Golden Ball, given to the ‘Player of the Tournament’ and thus became the first player to achieve it, having also won the award in 2014 when Argentina lost to Germany in the final.
Kylian Mbappe became the second player ever to score a hat-trick in a World Cup final and scored in the penalty shootout too, but failed to stop Messi from attaining immortality by winning his first World Cup.