Canada Global Tv: Knowing that his fifth World Cup with Argentina will likely be his final opportunity to win the title, Lionel Messi has been preparing for this moment.
He returned a week early to Paris Saint-preseason Germain’s training in July, and ever since then, he has appeared to be a man on a mission, determined to arrive in Qatar in the finest possible condition.
Messi is back to about his best after a challenging first season at PSG in which he fought to get over the pain of his departure from Barcelona. This season, Messi has scored or assisted 26 goals in 18 games for his side.
Argentina has been holding its breath in the meantime, praying the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner avoids an untimely injury.
Messi participated in his first World Cup as a teenager in 2006 and has since amassed a record 164 caps and 90 goals.
He led Argentina to the World Cup final in 2014, but the 2018 tournament was a terrible letdown, with Jorge Sampaoli’s team falling to a France squad led by Kylian Mbappe in the round of 16.
At the age of 35, Messi still has a remarkable desire to win the World Cup, much alone score his first goal in the World Cup’s knockout rounds.
Right now, I feel terrific physically. Better than when I first came at PSG last year. But given my advanced age, I made the statement that this might be my last World Cup. We’ll see how I feel after this one is through,” he added in a recent Directv Sports interview.
“Being calm is challenging for us, as it is for all Argentines, given that we are World Cup candidates.
As captain, Messi inspires his teammates in other ways than just his play with the ball, as evidenced by video of his pre-Copa America final statement that was released this week.
Messi will have the opportunity to surpass Lothar Matthaeus’ existing World Cup record of 25 matches played if Argentina advances all the way to the championship game in Doha.
But to him, winning the trophy is the only thing that matters.