Lionel Messi has not ruled out the unlikely possibility of playing for Argentina in the 2026 FIFA World Cup where his side will defend the title. 

The 35-year-old made the comments while speaking to an Argentine publication Diario Olé.

“I love playing football and while I feel like I’m in good shape and enjoying this, I’m going to keep at it. It seems like a long time until the next World Cup, but it depends on how my career is going.”

Messi had called the final of the 2022 Qatar World Cup his last game but seemingly changed his tune after winning the only trophy missing from his cabinet which has reportedly stoked a fire that may burn until 2026.

He also has the backing of coach Lionel Scaloni who had already said that Argentina will always keep a roster spot open for one of the best football players in history.

“I think Messi can make it to the next World Cup,”

“It will depend a lot on what he wants and what happens over time, that he feels good. The doors will always be open. He is happy on the pitch, and for us [it] would be good.”

Messi, who will be 39 in 2026, already holds the record for most World Cup appearances after eclipsing Germany’s Lothar Matthaus by playing his 26th match in the dramatic 2022 final and with 13 goals sits just three behind record-holder Miroslav Klose of Germany.