Eight years have passed since Argentina lost to Germany in the World Cup final in Rio de Janeiro, and Lionel Messi, now 35, has been hailed as having one more chance to claim the trophy.
Lionel Messi, one of the best players in football history, has yet to win the FIFA World Cup. In the Tuesday semi-final in Doha, an unstoppable Croatia team led by the eternal genius of Luka Modric stands in the way of Messi and Argentina’s World Cup dream. Eight years after Argentina lost to Germany in the World Cup final in Rio de Janeiro, Messi, who is now 35, has been hailed as having one more chance to win the tournament. He has already scored his first two goals in any World Cup knockout game, one against Australia in the round of 16, and the other a penalty against the Netherlands. He is keen to take advantage of the opportunity.
For the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner, who is arguably the best club player in history, winning the World Cup would cap off an incredible career. He helped Argentina win the Copa America last year after years of failure at the international level, but he is aware that Croatia is the most tenacious and resilient opponent.
Given his age, a major concern for all football fans is if he will retire following the FIFA World Cup. Lionel Scaloni, the coach of Argentina, was evasive about Lionel Messi’s future on Monday but said he would “enjoy having him” while he was still competing. Messi, 35, acknowledged prior to the competition that this likely would be his final World Cup.
Scaloni, whose brief international career coincided briefly with Messi’s, has expressed optimism for the future of the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner. Let’s see if he continues to play, but for now, we’re just going to take advantage of having him, ” he said. “It’s the best thing that could happen to us and to the football world.”