FIFA president Gianni Infantino has set Lionel Messi the target of representing Argentina in the next three FIFA World Cups. Infantino, who cannot get enough of the Inter Miami star, wishes to see him compete in the 2034 FIFA World Cup, at the age of 47.
Messi shone the brightest at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar last December, pitching in with seven goals and three assists as Argentina won their first World Cup in 36 years. Courtesy of his exploits, Messi won his record-extending eighth Ballon d’Or Award in Paris on October 30.
The 36-year-old has hinted that he would continue to play for Argentina through to the 2026 FIFA World Cup, which will be held in the USA, Canada, and Mexico. Infantino, however, does not only want Messi to compete in the 2026 FIFA World Cup — when he will be 39 — but he also wants him to continue for as long as 2034.
Infantino Sets Sensational Target For Argentina Legend Lionel Messi
Speaking to DSports at the CONMEBOL Legends match, Infantino backed Messi to play in the next three FIFA World Cups. He said (via GOAL):
“We talked about the match, about the World Cup of course. We remembered the last World Cup and planned the next ones. We are very well, all happy, all in agreement, 2026, will be the first 48-team World Cup, it will be huge. It will be here in America, in the United States, Mexico and Canada.
“It will be a soccer party, a total success, I’m sure. I hope he [Messi] makes it to the next World Cup, the one after that, and the one in 2034 as well. Whenever he wants.”
Could Messi Play Beyond FIFA World Cup 2026?
Since Messi will play in a comparatively less competitive Major League Soccer (MLS) for the next couple of years, there is a chance that he will be able to keep himself fresh enough for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
However, anything beyond that is unfathomable. In addition to the fact that the Inter Miami man will be well above 40, there is also the fact that plenty of young players are raring to prove their mettle for Argentine. And being a fair ambassador of the sport, Messi might refrain from blocking up a position in the team.
Messi has hinted that he could remain in the soccer universe even after hanging up his boots. So, seeing Messi in the hot seat at the 2034 FIFA World Cup is certainly not out of the realm of possibility.