The term “last dance”, like “he is him” and “got that dog in him”, has become overused. It is often used to describe an athlete’s last foray into major competition. Many use the term undeservedly, saying that a season is their last and that it’s championship or bust (cough, Aaron Rodgers). Make no mistake, the 2022 World Cup will be Lionel Messi’s last dance.
In an interview with Argentine Journalist Sebastian Vignolo, Messi confirmed that December’s World Cup in Qatar will be his last.
“This will be my last World Cup,” said Messi. “I’m counting days for the World Cup, there is a little anxiety and nerves of wanting it to be already. I don’t think Argentina are top favorites, because there are some teams who are above us, but we will fight against anyone.”
The Argentine forward has played in every World Cup since 2006. He has scored six goals in 19 World Cup matches. The Paris St. Germain forward famously carried Argentina to the 2014 World Cup Final, losing to Germany 1-0. Messi carried much of the blame for Argentina’s loss.
Messi has been in resurgent form for PSG this season, scoring 5 goals and assisting 7 in nine Ligue 1 matches. He has also scored 2 goals and assisted 1 in three Champions League matches.
Argentina figures to be one of the favorites at this year’s World Cup. The Ablicelestes came in second in COMENBOL qualifiers, finishing with 39 points from 17 matches. Argentina did not lose a match throughout qualifying, although FIFA called off a match against first-place Brazil after Premier League players breached COVID-19 protocols.
Messi will forever be known as a legend of the sport regardless of where Argentina finishes in December. Soccer fans globally will hope that Qatar will truly be Lionel Messi’s last dance.