Why Lionel Messi Will Be Motivated to Play in 2026 World Cup, Ex-Player Believes

Lionel Messi won the 2022 FIFA World Cup last December and while the 35-year-old noted that the tournament in Qatar would be his last, others hope it’s not.

Former Argentine player and current manager of Honduran club CD Olimpia Pedro Troglio hopes that Messi lifting the trophy that had long eluded him gives him more motivation to play in 2026. 

“I think that with this title it seems to me that it motivates him much more to be able to play a new World Cup from another place, from a much calmer place, knowing that an enormous weight was taken for him, because I think we all agree, beyond criticism, sometimes exaggerated against him, which seemed crazy to me that the national team was always decisive, beyond not having won a World Cup,” Troglio said Thursday on TyC Sports. 

Additionally, Troglio discussed the generations that have seen Messi and Diego Armando Maradona and how the two compare to each other as the GOAT to come out of Argentina. 

“After he gets it, it seems to me that his physique and maybe I am a true Maradonian because I lived through the Maradona era,” Troglio continued. “My son is from Messi’s time and we are all happy that Messi has achieved it. What I do see in Messi, who has been at the top of football for 17 years, from enormous competitiveness, under criticism, under comparison. And well, he did it at an incredible age. So I think that he will be in the next World Cup. I don’t know from what place, if complete if entering, but it seems to me that he has to be in the group.”

Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni also hopes to have Messi for the 2026 World Cup in North America. The Paris Saint-Germain forward will be 39 when the ball gets rolling for that tournament, so it will be up to him if he decides to play. 

“I think Messi can get to the next World Cup,” he told Radio Calvia (h/t GOAL). “It will depend a lot on what he wants, on whether he feels good. The doors will always be open. But he is happy on the pitch and it would be very nice for us.”

For now, Messi will keep playing for the Argentina national team as he’s likely to be on the squad that will compete in the 2024 Copa America next year in the United States. 

Tags 2026 World Cup Lionel Messi
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