Lionel Messi on Tuesday confirmed he “doesn’t think” he will play at another World Cup in an interview with Chinese media, after the 35-year-old led Argentina to victory at last year’s tournament in Qatar.
“I have said several times before that I don’t think so that that (2022) was my last World Cup,” he said when asked by China’s Titan Sports in a video interview if he might feature at the 2026 tournament in North America.
“I will see how things go but in theory I don’t think I will be around for the next World Cup,” he added in Spanish in the video published on the app Kuaishou.
The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner is currently in Beijing where Argentina will play a friendly against Australia on Thursday.
His comments come after he said earlier this year to Argentinian newspaper Ole that it would be “very difficult” to play at another World Cup.
He will turn 39 during the next tournament.
Messi last week announced he would join MLS side Inter Miami after his two-year deal with Paris Saint-Germain came to an end.
Argentina will play Thursday’s friendly against Australia at the 68,000-capacity Workers’ Stadium in Beijing.
The match is a repeat of the last-16 tie between the teams at the World Cup in Doha, which Argentina won 2-1.
With Chinese fans desperate to see the former Barcelona star in action, tickets have been rapidly snapped up despite being sold at prices rising to 4,800 Yuan ($671).