WORLD CUP 2022
Will Lionel Messi extend his contract at PSG?
Could Lionel Messi’s performances at the Qatar 2022 World Cup for Argentina convince him to prolong his career at the very highest level?
“We agreed with Messi that we would speak about it after the World Cup.” Paris Saint-Germain president and CEO Nasser Al Khelaïfi’s statement on Radio Monte Carlo after the World Cup final between Argentina and France makes all the sense in the world now that Messi has finally won soccer’s biggest prize and is just 11 days away from being able to enter into talks with a new club. The Argentinian superstar’s contract in Paris ends on 30 June and it isn’t yet known whether he’ll sign a new one. But one thing is clear: the World Cup has made the Messi stronger than ever.
Which club will Lionel Messi sign for next?
The former Barcelona playmaker was never going to make any decisions until he knew how the World Cup was going to play out. And as it happens, Messi now has his hands on the one title that he most coveted but had always eluded him, and that could drastically change his thinking when it comes to his club future. The pressure to somehow validate his greatness by winning the biggest one of all has been lifted from his shoulders and he has cemented his place as one of the sport’s greatest legends, no matter where he goes next. And after his crowing moment of glory, he will be the one who decides. His performances in Qatar leave him holding all the cards. Messi is back to his best and any team would want him on their roster. Offers won’t be in short supply and he’ll be the star turn wherever he goes.
Another feeling is that Messi wanted to see how he performed for PSG in the Champions League knockout rounds, which would give him a better idea if he was capable of continuing at the very highest level. The World Cup has already proved that, however, which might well put Inter Miami’s dreams of taking him to MLS on the backburner for now.
The Argentina captain is aware that if he leaves the elite, there will be no more Ballon d’Ors. Messi has already won seven of them and his eighth might be in the post after his performances in Qatar. But he knows that staying at a club that has already won trophies and has ambitions of finally lifting the Champions League would keep him in the conversation for more. PSG want Messi to stay on and have already drafted up a new contract that’s waiting to be signed, a strategy which worked for Al Khelaïfi with Kylian Mbappé, who had looked set at one stage to move on away from the French capital.
Messi’s case is different as, although he’s still ambitious, there’s little left for him to achieve in the game. He’ll listen to his body before making a decision and won’t be in a hurry to do so. After a hectic end to the year, he’ll take the time he needs to rest up before returning to Paris to do what he does best. Whether he does it in France for just a few more months or longer will be up to him.
Will Lionel Messi retire from international football with Argentina?
Messi has said that he won’t play in the 2026 World Cup although the groundswell of public opinion is already causing him to reconsider. In his press conference after the final, Argentina head coach Lionel Scaloni said that “if he wants to, the number 10 is his at the next World Cup”. Many in Argentina are calling for him to play in the USA, Mexico and Canada in 2026 so that he would become the only player in history to play in six World Cups.
For now, Messi is set to carry on with the national team and isn’t planning to retire. “I want to play in this shirt as a world champion,” he said after winning the World Cup. New challenges are just around the corner, with the main one being the Copa América, which will be played in 2024. There is still a year and a half to go, which isn’t too far away, which suggests that La Albiceleste’s most legendary figure could still be around as captain for at least one more tournament.