Lionel Messi says the future of his international career depends on how Argentina do at the World Cup.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner originally announced his international retirement when Argentina lost the Copa America final for the second successive year to Chile in 2016, and said criticism from media in his home country was a big factor in his decision.
Messi – who had suffered defeat in the 2014 World Cup final to Germany – changed his mind shortly after and led Argentina through a poor World Cup qualification campaign with a hat-trick in their must-win final game against Ecuador.
Only “God and Messi” will decide if Argentina can win this year’s tournament, according to their president Mauricio Macri, and the Barcelona forward has hinted it could be his last attempt.
Asked if he will retire after the World Cup, Messi told Spanish newspaper Sport: “I don’t know. It will depend how we do, how it ends.
“The fact we’ve lost three finals now has led to some complicated moments with the Argentine press due to the differences in seeing what it means to reach a final.
“It is not easy and [reaching three finals] has to be appreciated. It’s true that winning them is important, but getting there is not easy.”