The final World Cup of the Argentina Star Lionel Messi illustrious career will take place in Qatar the following month.
The 35-year-old Argentina Star Lionel Messi, who will compete in his fifth World Cup (which kicks off on Nov. 20), admitted he feels anxious before his final outing on the biggest stage in world football. He is still searching for his first World Cup victory.
“There’s some anxiety and nerves at the same time. It is the last one,” Messi said in an interview with Star Plus.
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It is the first time the Paris Saint-Germain striker has spoken candidly about his plans after the competition, as Messi has not yet made a decision regarding whether or not he would continue playing for his country after Qatar.
“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.”
In 1978 and 1986, Argentina claimed World Cup victories. On Nov. 22, the team will face Saudi Arabia in Group C’s first match, followed by matches against Mexico and Poland.
The success Messi has had at the club level contrasts sharply with his record with Argentina. Three times, Argentina came within one win of ending their protracted trophy drought, but they were defeated by Germany in the World Cup final in 2014 and Chile in the Copa America finals in 2015 and 2016.
“I have been playing with the national team for a long time now,” Messi said. “There have been spectacular moments, like in 2014, 2015 and 2016, but we didn’t win and were criticised for not being champions.
“We did everything right until the finals.”
Messi declared that as the veteran on a team packed of young potential, he was going to Qatar with an optimistic view.
“It’s been very hard, but in 2019 a new group with many young people came and won the Copa America. That helped us a lot,” he added.
Prior to starting group play in Qatar in November, Argentina plays its final exhibition game against the United Arab Emirates.