Playing my last match in WC final: Messi confirms retirement

Lusail: Argentine great Lionel Messi has confirmed that the 2022 FIFA World Cup final on Sunday will be his last game for Argentina.

Messi along with Julian Alvarez powered Argentina to the World Cup final with a 3-0 win over Croatia on Tuesday here at Lusail stadium.

“Very happy to be able to achieve this. Ending my World Cup journey by playing my last match in a final,” the Argentina captain told national daily sports newspaper Diario Deportivo Ole. “Everything I experienced in this World Cup is something very exciting, what people experienced, how people in Argentina are enjoying it.”

“There are many years for the next one and I don’t think it will give me. And ending like this is the best,” he added.

“The truth is that many things go through our heads, we are going to play the last game, which is what we want. I have been enjoying it a lot for a long time,” Messi said.

In Tuesday’s semifinal, Messi joined an elite group of big-name FIFA World Cup stars who have scored in each knockout round prior to the Final.

The Argentine skipper is one of only sixth men to have played five World Cups alongside Antonio Carbajal, Lothar Matthaus, Rafa Marquez, Andres Guardado and Cristiano Ronaldo.

He has made a record 18 appearances as captain in the World Cup. He is followed by Rafa Marquez (17) and Diego Maradona (16).

Lothar Matthaus and Messi share the record for the most World Cup appearances (25). ‘La Pulga Atomica’ will take the outright lead when he appears in the final on Sunday.

Messi is the only player to register an assist in five World Cups. His closest challengers are Pele, Grzegorz Lato, Diego Maradona and David Beckham, who set up goals in three editions apiece.

Pele and Messi share the record for the most assists (6) in the knockout phase.

The 35-year-old is the only player to score in the World Cup in his teens, 20s and 30s. Pele missed out on accomplishing the same by four months.

The Argentine great scored his first and latest World Cup goals 16 years and 180 days apart. The next biggest span in World Cup history belongs to Cristiano Ronaldo at 16 years and 160 days.

He has scored his first and latest World Cup goals 16 years and 180 days apart. The next biggest span in World Cup history belongs to Cristiano Ronaldo at 16 years and 160 days.

UNI

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