Lionel Messi returns to international duty with Argentina as South America’s long qualifying journey to the 2026 World Cup begins.
Messi led Argentina to a World Cup victory in Qatar, solidifying his status as his generation’s greatest player.
Since then, the 36-year-old superstar’s life has experienced significant changes including a dazzling start to his Major League Soccer career
After leaving Paris Saint-Germain amid controversy, Messi considered Saudi Arabia but ultimately opted for a fresh start with Inter Miami.
This move has proven to be a wise decision, with Messi and his family seamlessly adapting to life in Florida.
He led Inter to their first silverware and into the US Open Cup final.
Former Argentina and Barcelona player, Inter coach Gerard “Tata” Martino, asserts that Messi found liberation after guiding Argentina to last year’s World Cup victory, following multiple near-misses.
However, as South America’s qualifying campaign begins this week, the question looms:
Will Messi still be part of Argentina’s squad when they aim to defend their title in the 2026 World Cup?
In June, Messi seemed to dismiss this possibility, suggesting that he didn’t expect to play in the 2026 finals.
Nevertheless, in a July interview, he admitted to having no clear idea of when he plans to retire from international football.
“Even I don’t know when. It’ll happen when it happens,” Messi told Argentine media.
“After winning everything I want to enjoy the moment and wait for time to tell me when it’s the moment.
“Logically, given my age, one would expect it to be soon, but I don’t know for sure.”
However, Tapia believes that Messi deserves the right to choose when to end his international career.