COPA AMÉRICA 2024
Will Lionel Messi play for Argentina at the 2024 Copa América?
Messi’s Argentina go into next year’s Copa América, which is to be hosted by the United States, as defending champions.
Argentina captain Lionel Messi isn’t ruling out an appearance at a record sixth World Cup in 2026 - but, for now, he says his focus is on next year’s Copa América, as he sets his sights on featuring at the CONMEBOL tournament for the seventh occasion in his career.
Copa América “all I’m thinking about” - Messi
Speaking on ‘Champions, a year on’, a new Star+ and ESPN documentary on Argentina’s victory at the 2022 World Cup, the 36-year-old said: “Today all I’m thinking about is getting to the Copa América and being able to play in it, and hopefully being able to challenge again and try to be champions.
“Then time will tell if I’m there [in 2026] or not. The reality is that I’m going to be at an age that normally doesn’t allow one to play at a World Cup, and that’s why I’ve said previously that I don’t think I’ll be there.
“I want to be here [with the Argentina national team] more than ever, because after spending so many years suffering and now that we’re experiencing a special moment that I’ve never experienced before, I want to enjoy it. I feel good with the group. I want to take advantage of all that without thinking about two or three years’ time, which in football is a lot.”
Messi closing in on Copa América records
For the first time in nearly 30 years, Argentina will head into the Copa América, which on this occasion is to be hosted by the United States, as tournament holders. In 2021, Messi finished as joint-top scorer as the Albiceleste lifted their first continental title since 1993, and the first piece of major silverware in the Inter Miami forward’s career.
Messi is just one game away from overtaking Chile’s Sergio Livingstone as the Copa América’s leading appearance maker - the pair are currently tied on 34 matches - and is within reach of becoming the tournament’s highest ever scorer.
Since making his Copa América debut in 2007, the eight-time Ballon d’Or winner has scored 13 goals at the event. That tally leaves him seventh in the competition’s all-time goal charts, but only four strikes behind the Copa América’s leading marksman, fellow Argentine Norberto Méndez.
When is the 2024 Copa América?
The 48th edition of the tournament, the 2024 Copa América is to be played from 20 June to 14 July 2024. Traditionally a competition chiefly contested by South American countries, next year’s Copa América will feature six teams from the North American, Central American and Caribbean region (CONCACAF).
Argentina to learn group-stage fate on Thursday
Having last week been confirmed as one of the 2024 Copa América’s top seeds, Argentina are to find out the identity of their group-stage opponents on Thursday, when the tournament draw is held in Miami, Florida. Brazil, Mexico and the United States have also been seeded, so cannot be drawn with the World Cup winners in the round-robin phase.