Although head coach Lionel Scaloni is hoping that Lionel Messi’s international career with Argentina won’t end anytime soon, he will ultimately make that decision.
In December, Argentina broke a 36-year drought by winning the World Cup for the third time, thanks in large part to the star forward for Paris Saint-Germain.
Immediately following Argentina’s victory against France on penalties in the championship game, Messi said that, in contrast to what many had predicted, he would continue to play for his country.
In a friendly match against Panama on Thursday, La Albiceleste will play for the first time since that time, and Messi and his teammates are expected to be greeted with another hero’s welcome.
Although the 35-year-old has previously stated he will not compete in the 2026 World Cup, Scaloni is unsure of the precise date he will leave the international stage.
“Messi will continue to come until he says otherwise. I see him happy on the pitch and within the selection,” Scaloni said at a press conference on Tuesday.
“Leo’s looking good to me. He deserves all that love. He and all the players who are here deserve to go out and receive that love because they have not been able to live it.
“Leo, although he is the best of all, he also needs to see that his people love him. This is something that will stay with him forever.”
Argentina is currently the South American and global champions, but Scaloni has reminded his team that they cannot afford to let their standards slip now that they are the target of a target.