Lionel Messi has reaffirmed that Sunday’s final against Morocco or France will be his last World Cup appearance. The 35-year-old’s masterpiece alongside goals from J. Alvarez gave Argentina a 3-0 semi-final win over Croatia.
Argentina are into their sixth World Cup final, with only Germany (eight) having reached more in the competition.
The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner, had in the past indicated that this would be his last World Cup finals, and he reaffirmed this while speaking with reporters after their Semi-final triumph.
“I am proud to be able to finish my World Cup journey playing this final,” Messi told reporters. “What I’m experiencing is exciting. Sunday will be my last game in a World Cup.
“It will be many years before the next one  and I don’t think I’ll be able to make it, so I hope I can finish in the best way.”
Messi’s goal against Croatia meant he became his country’s all-time leading scorer at World Cups, with his 11th strike seeing him move past Gabriel Batistuta.
Messi will be playing to win the World Cup, after coming close in 2014 where Argentina lost to Germany in the final at Rio. If successful, it will be Argentina’s third World Cup triumph and the first since the Maradona inspired victory in 1986.
Alongside Lionel Messi, this World Cup in Qatar is likely to be the last time great players like Christiana Ronaldo of Portugal, Luka Modric of Croatia, Thomas Muller of Germany, Olivier Giroud of France and many of Belgium’s golden generation take to the pitch in a World Cup final match.
Nnamdi Maduakor is a Writer, Investor and Entrepreneur