2022 could not have ended any better for Lionel Messi, as the Argentina superstar finally realized the burning ambition of his entire career, winning the FIFA World Cup with his national team in Qatar. Before the tournament, he was contemplating the possibility of retirement, although now having lifted the one trophy that eluded him, this cherished triumph seems to have brought a change of perspective.
During the months building up to the World Cup, and in various interviews with different media outlets, one key narrative was becoming increasingly clear. Fans and followers were keen to know how long Messi planned to continue, making that question one of the hottest topics for anyone interviewing the 35-year-old football icon. And one of the answers he gave was especially interesting.
When asked about his long-term plans by former international teammate Ezequiel Lavezzi, as part of an intriguing interview for CONMEBOL in November of last year, Messi appeared fairly certain about his future in football. “I don’t think I will be playing much longer,” he admitted with sincerity. “I don’t know, a lot of things happen,” suggested Messi, albeit while insisting his doubts about playing until the age of 40.
World Cup Win Has Rejuvenated Messi
Due to the obvious awareness of his advanced years, given that age and time always catch up with even the greatest sporting superstars, Messi had seemed fairly certain about his international future. In many interviews ahead of the 2022 World Cup, there were clear indications that regardless of how things turned out in Qatar, this would be his last major tournament with the Argentina national team.
But after getting his hands on that famous golden trophy at long last, Messi appears to have been rejuvenated by the success, prompting vows to keep playing for Argentina.
“No, I’m not gonna retire from the national team,” he insisted, amidst the jubilant celebrations following the World Cup final victory against France. “I want to keep playing as World Cup champions,” he underlined, eager to continue representing the Albiceleste selection.
Insofar as Paris Saint-Germain are concerned, Messi winning the World Cup may also serve as an important boost for their own ambitions, keen to keep him active and playing in the French capital. Out of contract in the summer, Messi now appears ready to commit himself to PSG for at least another year, and possibly even longer. This comes despite the constant push by Inter Miami and the MLS, who remain eager to lure him to their cause.
Nevertheless, few can doubt that Messi appears to be settled in Paris and keen to remain, cherishing the opportunity to continue playing at the very highest level, which is quite the contrast compared to Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese superstar has moved to Saudi Arabia, turning his back on elite football in Europe, choosing to follow the money in the twilight of his own career.
Unpredictability of Messi Adds to His Greatness
Ever since making his professional breakthrough at FC Barcelona, the phenomenal talents of Messi have captured the imagination, mesmerizing football fans around the whole globe. In one quick flash of brilliance, his vision and precision can unlock moments of pure magic, changing the course of games in an instant. This aura of unpredictability is what makes Messi so greatly admired unless you happen to be an unfortunate defender trying to mark him.
Now the game is dominated by numbers and statistics, the data points which surround Messi are just as equally fascinating, which is certainly beneficial to PSG and their current ambitions. For those of us looking to create our own football prediction model, using Poisson distribution is one popular approach, calculating the number of times that an event will happen, such as the frequency of goals and assists provided by Messi.
While his first season at PSG was rather disappointing, especially by his own stratospheric standards, Messi has been outstanding throughout the 2022-23 campaign. Weighing in with 13 goals and 14 assists in 20 appearances, he could make all the difference for the French giants this season, as they aim to fulfill their quest to win the UEFA Champions League. And bolstered by his recent World Cup victory, the Argentine ace is refueled and ready to aid that cause.
Nobody will ever be able to predict what Messi chooses to do next, on or off the pitch, but we can be confident about his numbers and current performance levels. This unpredictable genius could be the key to PSG conquering Europe at last, and with plenty of gas left in the tank for another year or two, they will be delighted by the prospect of retaining his remarkable talents.