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Messi confirms retirement from international football after World Cup

Messi will continue to play club football, as he is expected to join Inter Miami.

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The Argentine superstar has been a dominant force in the sport for over a decade but has decided to step away from the international stage.

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The world of football was stunned by the news that Lionel Messi, arguably the greatest player of all time, has decided to hang up his boots for Argentina after leading them to their third World Cup title in Qatar. Messi confirmed his retirement in an emotional press conference after the final, where he lifted the coveted trophy for the first time in his illustrious career.

Messi, who scored six goals and assisted four more in the tournament, said that he had fulfilled his dream of winning the World Cup and that it was time to step aside and let the younger generation take over. He thanked his teammates, coaches, fans, and family for their support and said that he would always be proud of representing his country.

Also, Read: Real Madrid named world’s most valuable football club.

Messi’s words in the press conference

“It’s a very difficult decision, but I feel that it’s the right one. I’ve given everything I had for this shirt and I have no regrets. I’ve achieved what I always wanted, which was to win the World Cup with Argentina. It’s the most beautiful feeling in the world and I will never forget it,” Messi said.

“I want to thank everyone who has been with me in this journey, especially my teammates, who are like brothers to me. We fought together, we suffered together, we celebrated together. They are the best players I’ve ever played with and I’m honored to have shared this moment with them.”

“I also want to thank the coaches, who trusted me and helped me grow as a player and as a person. The fans, who always supported me and showed me their love. My family, who are my everything and who sacrificed so much for me. And God, who gave me this talent and this opportunity.”

“I’m not leaving because I’m tired or because I don’t love this shirt anymore. I’m leaving because I think it’s time for a change. There are many young players who are ready to take over and who deserve a chance. I want to see them shine and make Argentina proud. I will always be their fan and their friend.”

Messi’s retirement marks the end of an era for Argentina, who have relied on his brilliance for more than 15 years. Messi made his debut for the senior team in 2005, at the age of 18, and went on to become their all-time leading scorer with 92 goals in 163 appearances. He also won four Copa America titles (2007, 2015, 2016, and 2021) and an Olympic gold medal (2008) with Argentina.

However, the World Cup was the one trophy that eluded him until this year. Messi had suffered heartbreak in three previous finals: in 2014, when Argentina lost to Germany in extra time; in 2018, when Argentina was knocked out by France in the round of 16; and in 2022, when Argentina was beaten by Brazil in the semi-finals.

Messi had announced his retirement from international football after the 2016 Copa America final defeat to Chile on penalties, but later reversed his decision and returned to lead Argentina to qualification for the 2018 World Cup. He also considered quitting after the 2018 World Cup exit but decided to stay on and help Argentina rebuild under new coach Lionel Scaloni.

His perseverance paid off in Qatar, where he finally lifted the trophy that he had coveted since he was a child. Messi was instrumental in Argentina’s campaign, scoring crucial goals against Uruguay, Nigeria, England, and France. He also set up Julian Alvarez for two goals in the final against Croatia, which Argentina won 3-1.

Messi was named the best player of the tournament and received the Golden Ball award for his outstanding performances. He also equaled Pele’s record of scoring in four different World Cups and became only the second player after Diego Maradona to win both the World Cup and the Ballon d’Or in the same year.

Messi’s retirement leaves a huge void in Argentina’s attack but also opens up opportunities for new stars to emerge. Players like Lautaro Martinez, Paulo Dybala, Angel Correa, and Alvarez will have to step up and fill Messi’s shoes, while youngsters like Thiago Almada, Ezequiel Barco, and Pedro De La Vega will hope to follow in his footsteps.

Messi’s legacy as one of the greatest players of all time is secure, but his impact on Argentina’s football culture is immeasurable. He inspired millions of children to play the game with passion, skill, and joy. He showed that nothing is impossible with hard work, dedication, and talent. He made Argentina proud and happy.

Messi will continue to play club football, as he is expected to join Inter Miami in the MLS after leaving Paris Saint-Germain at the end of the season. He said that he is looking forward to a new challenge and that he hopes to keep enjoying the game for as long as he can.

But for Argentina, Messi is irreplaceable. He is a legend, a hero, a genius. He is the best ever. He is Messi.

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