Argentina want Lionel Messi to play for country at next World Cup, says teammate

Lionel Messi of Argentina celebrates with the World Cup trophy after Argentina beat France in the final of the FIFA World Cup 2022 on 18 December, 2022 at the Lusail Iconic Stadium in Lusail, Qatar.
(Image credit: Simon Bruty/Anychance/Getty Images)

Lionel Messi's Argentina teammates want him to play at the next World Cup, says Alexis Mac Allister.

Mac Allister starred alongside captain Messi as Argentina went all the way at Qatar 2022, defeating France on penalties in the final to become world champions for the third time.

That tournament was set to be Messi's last World Cup – and after finally getting his hands on the trophy at the fifth time of trying, no one would be surprised if it held true – but the eight-time Ballon d'Or winner's Albiceleste colleagues don't want that.

Lionel Messi of Argentina celebrates with teammate Alexis Mac Allister after scoring his team's third goal during the FIFA World Cup 2022 final between Argentina and France on 18 December, 2022 at the Lusail Iconic Stadium in Lusail, Qatar.

(Image credit: FIFA via Getty Images)

Discussing the possibility of Messi performing a U-turn over his international future, the Brighton midfielder said (opens in new tab):

"We don't want him to leave the national team. He said it was going to be his last World Cup, but we don't want that. We want him to stay with us. He knows it, so let's see what happens.

"He sent a message to us yesterday, wishing us a very good year. He was very grateful to us. After the [final], we couldn't speak too much because we wanted to celebrate.

"I think we still don't realise what we achieved, but in the next five or 10 years we will."

Messi will be 39 come the 2026 World Cup, which will be jointly hosted by Canada, Mexico and the United States; he couldn't, could he...?

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Tom Hancock started freelancing for FourFourTwo in April 2019 and has also written for The Analyst and When Saturday Comes, among others. He supports Wycombe Wanderers and has a soft spot for Wealdstone. A self-confessed statto, he has been known to watch football with a spreadsheet (or several) open...