Lionel Messi addresses retirement talk: ‘If I feel good, I will keep playing’


Lionel Messi says he will call time on his football career when he no longer enjoys playing.

Messi, 36, has a contract with Inter Miami — for whom he has scored 16 goals in 19 first-team appearances since his move from Paris Saint-Germain a year ago — through to the end of 2025.

“I know that as soon as I believe that I can no longer perform, or no longer enjoy the game, or not able to help my team-mates, then I will stop,” Messi told the podcast Big Time, which was broadcast on Saudi Arabian TV this week.

“I am really self-critical; I know when I am good and when I am bad. So for my retirement, it will not matter what age I am. If I feel good, I will keep playing.”

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When pressed on what plans he had after hanging up his boots, Messi admitted: “I have not yet thought about this, I am still focused on enjoying my football every day.

“I hope to continue playing for a while longer, that is my plan. After that, I will try to do something I like in a new role.”

Messi has been playing professional football since 2004 (Lluis Gene/AFP via Getty Images)


Messi has been playing professional football since 2004 (Lluis Gene/AFP via Getty Images)

Messi added that he was an avid watcher of sports including tennis, basketball and American football — “I have understood it a lot more since moving to the United States and I enjoy it!” — and explained that he would have retired from international duty with Argentina had they not won the 2022 World Cup.

“If things had not happened the way they did (winning the World Cup), I would have retired from the international team, because I was about to take another change in my (club) career,” he continued. “Being world champions for us, our families and the entire country was magical, it will stay with us for the rest of our lives.”

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In 2021, after two decades at Barcelona, the Catalan club were unable to renew the contract of Messi — the club’s all-time leading goal scorer and record appearance holder.

He joined French side PSG but he explained how moving to Paris was “difficult” and that he had “not prepared or planned” to leave Barcelona. “It all happened so quickly, and I had to rebuild my life the next day,” Messi said. “It was a new league, a new club, a new dressing room. I was not looking for that change, and it was difficult at the beginning.”

Messi is set to captain Argentina in this summer’s Copa America, held in the U.S., having led his nation to the title in 2021.

(Jun Sato/WireImage)





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