Cristiano Ronaldo’s Qatar experience should function a warning to Lionel Messi to withstand the temptation to play on until the subsequent World Cup. Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni made some extent of leaving the door open for Messi to maintain going until 2026 in North America.
He can be 39 by then but there have been precedents at this World Cup in Brazil’s Dani Alves and Canada’s Atiba Hutchinson who turned out for his or her countries in Qatar a yr in need of his fortieth birthday. “We want to save lots of him a spot for the World Cup 2026,” said Scaloni.
“If he desires to keep playing, he can be with us. He’s greater than entitled to make a decision whether he desires to keep playing for Argentina or not or what he desires to do together with his profession.” Nonetheless, the traumatic exit of Messi’s long-time rival Ronaldo at Qatar 2022 is a pointer to the Argentina captain to not attempt to defeat Father Time.
At 37, Ronaldo was reduced to the role of bit-part substitute for Portugal and left the tournament in tears after their quarter-final loss to Morocco. While that doesn’t undo all the good things Ronaldo has done for his country, the ultimate image of him at a World Cup was a tragic one.
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Contrast that with Messi on the pitch on the Lusail Stadium on Sunday night together with his wife and kids, the happiest man on the earth. As a full stop to a world profession that’s inconceivable to top.
Messi’s intention is to play on for Argentina for the foreseeable future – “I need to maintain on experiencing just a few more matches as world champion” – he said after the sport. He has scored 98 goals for his country during his incredible profession so there may be an obvious goal to succeed in for there.
But three and a half years is a protracted time away. He defied the ageing process across the tournament to win the Golden Ball for best player but he was probably feeling his age yesterday after an Argentina party which began within the dressing room and continued on a midnight open-top bus journey down Lusail Boulevard serenaded by an infinite fireworks display.
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“World champions! I dreamed it so persistently. I wanted it a lot that I still have not come to ground, I am unable to consider it,” he wrote on Instagram. Thanks very much to my family, to all who support me and likewise to all who believed in us.
“We demonstrated once more that Argentines once we fight together and united we’re able to achieving what we got down to do. The praise belongs to this group, which is above individuals. It was the strength of all fighting for a similar dream that was also the dream of all Argentines and we did it!
“Go Argentina! We’re seeing one another very soon.” Messi is flying back to Argentina with the squad to affix the mass celebrations which have engulfed the country. He should benefit from the adulation, he has earned it. But he shouldn’t be seduced into spoiling an exquisite legacy.