Scaloni: “Until he tells me otherwise, Messi will keep coming”
Argentina head coach Lionel Scaloni has given the verdict on Lionel Messi’s future: He’s staying put until Messi himself says otherwise.
After the 2022 World Cup, many thought Lionel Messi would retire from international soccer. He won the World Cup for his country, basically the last item on the checklist of achievements that was previously missing. But though Messi may be 35 years old, he’s no worse for the wear, and until he himself is ready to call it quits, he’ll be welcome on the national team.
“The Messi thing, it’s easy to read. He’s good, he’s ready to play, he’s ready to keep coming,” said Argentina’s head coach Lionel Scaloni. “And until he tells me different, he’ll keep coming. When he tells me, ‘I don’t feel it anymore’, then I’ll decide what to do. I’ll try to convince him. Meanwhile, he’s happy on the soccer field, he’s happy with the national team, and that’s really good for us.”
Scaloni and Argentina looking to the future
The international window has begun and Messi is back with the Argentina national team again. Scaloni is calling on his team to be ready for a new challenge after winning the World Cup.
“Today, with social media, you open anything and you see a goal, a celebration,” said Scaloni. “Then, things come into your head that aren’t helpful, because maybe they make you look at the past, when you should be looking ahead.”
The Argentina squad is looking ahead now to the immediate future, as they prepare to play Panama on Thursday and Curacao on Tuesday. Tickets to watch the world champions in those games sold out in under two hours.
“We are world champions, but that doesn’t mean we have the right for more, just because we win we can’t do whatever we want,” Scaloni said. “That’s what they [the players] have to understand.”
Messi had repeatedly said that the 2022 World Cup would be his last, but as they prepare for their international fixtures, it’s starting to feel like his international career may not be as close to an end as we’ve been led to believe. It was already likely he’d play in the Copa América tournament, which was thought to possibly be his sendoff. However, Scaloni believes that Messi could very well play in the 2026 World Cup.
“It will depend a lot on what he wants and what happens over time, that he feels good,” said Scaloni. “The doors will always be open. He is happy on the field, and for us, it would be good.”