Lionel Messi has declared that he will play his farewell World Cup game when Argentina faces either France or Morocco in the final on Sunday in Qatar.
Messi led Argentina to a 3-0 semi-final victory against Croatia on Tuesday and will earn his 172nd cap this weekend as he attempts to lead Argentina to its first World Cup trophy since 1986.
Messi told the Argentine newspaper Diario Deportivo Ole, “I’m ecstatic to be able to do this and play my last World Cup game in the championship match.”
The 35-year-old is competing in his fifth World Cup, surpassing Diego Maradona and Javier Mascherano’s total of four.
With his fifth goal in Qatar, he eclipsed Gabriel Batistuta as the Albiceleste’s all-time World Cup leading scorer with 11 goals.
Messi continued, “The most wonderful thing is to be able to accomplish the collective goal, which is the most essential thing.” We’ll give all we’ve got to try to make it happen this time, since we’re only one step away after a fierce battle.
Thousands of supporters took to the streets in Argentina on Wednesday to celebrate the national team’s sixth participation in the World Cup final.
France faces Morocco in Wednesday’s other semifinal matchup.