At some point, we all have to ask ourselves, “What’s next?” Many soccer players retire from the game by age 36, beginning new careers in coaching, broadcasting or business. As site co-expert Matt Clark reported earlier this week, 36-year-old Lionel Messi isn’t there yet.
Some speculate Messi has his sights set on the 2026 World Cup, which would be the sixth of his legendary career (2006, 2010, 2014, 2018 and 2022). Messi led Argentina to its third World Cup championship in December, leading all scorers with seven goals and earning a third Golden Ball as the competition’s best player. The cup victory ended the debate over who was the better player, Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo, and propelled Messi’s name into conversations of the all-time greatest players.
Messi says he isn’t thinking about 2026, but it’s telling that he was irritated that Paris Saint-Germain, his club team before his contract expired in June, failed to publicly celebrate his achievement. I think Messi will do his best to join La Albiceleste at World Cup ‘26; I think the fact that Copa América will be played in North America next year, and the Cup in the U.S., Canada and Mexico two years later, played a role in his decision to come to Inter Miami.
On Thursday, Messi told Argentine media celebrity Miguel Garrados that he’s focused on the Copa America.
"I don’t think about it yet because it is far away. After the Copa America we’ll see, it will depend on how I feel. There are still three years left."- Lionel Messi on playing in World Cup ‘26
Sounds like if Messi can play, he will play.