• Friday, July 19, 2024
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BusinessDay

Messi to skip Olympics but hints at possible 2026 World Cup appearance

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Argentinian football legend and eight-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi has confirmed that he will not be participating in the 2024 Paris Olympics this summer, but has not ruled out playing at the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

“I spoke with [Argentinian Olympic coach Javier] Mascherano, and we immediately agreed on the situation,” Messi, who currently plays for Inter Miami, said during the interview broadcast on Wednesday.

“It’s a difficult moment because there’s the Copa America, and that would mean two or three consecutive months away from my club. At my age, I don’t want to play everything and need to make the right choices.”

Messi, who turns 37 on June 24, was part of Argentina’s gold medal-winning team at the 2008 Olympics. This summer, he will focus on defending Argentina’s title at the Copa America, taking place from June 20 to July 14 in the United States, just weeks before the Olympics commence on July 26.

Messi helped Argentina to win the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar and has not ruled out the possibility of participating in a record-breaking sixth World Cup in 2026, which will be held across the US, Canada, and Mexico.

“It’s great to have records and continue to achieve things, but I won’t take part in a World Cup just to say I’ve done six,” Messi explained. “If I feel good and everything is in place for me to be there, fine, but I won’t go just to go. It’s very difficult to imagine what can happen because it’s still two years away. I don’t need to commit right now to whether or not I’ll be there.”