Lionel Messi announced that the upcoming World Cup in Qatar will be his last. The 35-year-old superstar has played in four World Cups so far and would be pushing 40 for the 2026 tournament in North America.

“It’s my last World Cup, surely,” Messi told ESPN. “I’m counting down the days to the World Cup. There is anxiety and nerves at the same time. Wanting it to be now, what is going to happen, and ultimately, how is it going to go?”

Messi made his debut for the senior Argentina team in 2005. It may have taken the 18-year-old wonderkid six games to score his first international goal, but he would go on to be one of the greats in the game.

At the international level, Messi has scored 90 goals in 164 total matches for his country. He currently has the most appearances and goals for the legendary South American team.

Last World Cup for Lionel Messi

As amazing as Messi’s career has been, a World Cup triumph is his Achilles’ heel. The star striker has essentially collected every major silverware possible, except for a World Cup trophy.

Argentina enters the 2022 World Cup as one of the favorites to win it all. Messi, however, acknowledged that things don’t always go as planned during these tournaments.

“In a World Cup, anything can happen,” Messi claimed. “All the matches are very tough. The favorites don’t always end up winning.”

“I don’t know if we’re the favorites, 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 favorites. I think there are other teams that are above us.”

Argentina is currently ranked third in the latest FIFA rankings. Only rivals Brazil and Belgium are above La Albiceleste in the order.